Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have developed a method that could make a nasal spray flu vaccine effective for those under two and over 49.

By studying the weakened flu virus that is the basis for the nasal spray vaccine in cells from human nasal and sinus cavities, the researchers say they have determined that the virus can be weakened (for young children) or strengthened (in older people) enough to create an appropriate immune response in people of all ages.

A report on the findings is published online in the journal Vaccine.

“We think we can use our molecular, rational design approaches to make a better flu vaccine for people who really need it,” says study leader Andrew Pekosz, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. “We can do it in a sophisticated and accurate way, not in a blind manner, which is how these vaccines are usually developed.”

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