Indexed on: 19 Oct '10Published on: 19 Oct '10Published in: Advances in virus research
Outbreaks of influenza A viruses continue to cause morbidity and mortality worldwide. The global disease burden of influenza is substantial. While antiviral therapies are available, influenza vaccines are the mainstay of efforts to reduce the substantial health burden from seasonal influenza. Inactivated influenza vaccines have been available since the 1940s, with live attenuated, cold-adapted vaccines becoming available in the United States in 2003. In spite of the successes, more research is needed to develop more effective seasonal influenza vaccines that provide long-lasting immunity and broad protection against strains that differ antigenically from vaccine viruses. This review introduces the virus and its disease, the current state of seasonal and pandemic influenza vaccines, and the challenges we face in the future.