Researchers at McMaster University and two American universities are inching closer to the development a universal flu vaccine.
The latest findings build upon their earlier discovery of a class of antibodies capable of neutralizing the some of the most dangerous types of influenza.
Researchers say these antibodies train the immune system to recognize a portion of the virus that does not change from one year to the next.
This could provide the path to a vaccine that only needs to be given once.
Matthew Miller, the senior author of the study says while seasonal flu vaccines work by generating antibodies that prevent the virus from infecting other cells; a universal flu vaccine would go one step further by recruiting white blood cells to destroy infected cells.
Miller adds you need antibodies that bind to very specific places on the virus and now that researchers know the places where they have to bind, vaccines can be modified to generate those antibodies in higher numbers.