St. Jude scientists work to improve flu shot

Updated: Oct. 16, 2019 at 6:39 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is taking on new research that impacts everyone.

Scientists are partnering with the University of Georgia to improve the flu shot and how it works.

"The shot we have now works, but we can make it better,” said Stacey Schultz-Cherry, St. Jude Department of Infectious Diseases.

A contract including $130 million in funding and seven years has been drawn with the National Institute of Health for St. Jude researchers to make an improved flu vaccine.

“The goal is to create something that's going to have a major impact on health,” said Schultz-Cherry.

St. Jude’s scientists are making the vaccine more protective against multiple flu strains, finding new ways to administer the drug and new ways to grow the cells for the vaccine.

“So we've already had calls and people are getting started on the work. we don't have any time to waste,” said Schultz-Cherry.

Because many St. Jude children are among those most vulnerable to the flu, a top priority for the scientists is making the shot more effective for them.

“I think it fits with the mission of St. Jude, which is preventing and treating catastrophic childhood illnesses, and it is really taking the work that we've done in the laboratory and going bench to bedside and being able to help everybody,” said Schultz-Cherry.

St. Jude will also get help from 14 other universities and institutions from across the world to get the new vaccine out there as quickly as possible.

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