The Dominant H3N2

For those who don’t know: hens will lay eggs regardless of whether a rooster gives her company or not. A hen’s body is naturally built to produce an egg in a day.

Vaccine manufacturers grow a lot of flu viruses in order to produce flu shots, and since the virus grows effectively in eggs, it’s injected into the fertilized hen’s eggs and incubated for days while they replicate; they’re then harvested from the eggs, killed or inactivated, and purified to go into vaccines.  

It’s the season of flu in North America. Since anyone in the vicinity of the infected can fall sick, avoid, if possible, a visit to the hospital where there’s a flood of patients with flu because you might return home with a sore throat, the first of the signs. Although we took flu shots late last year, it’s only 25 to 35% effective. Because whenever a dominant strain like the H3N2 virus circulates, the vaccine offers weak protection.

Image courtesy: CDC

Two malefactor species of influenza A and B viruses cause seasonal flu.  Every year, public health agencies throw an educated guess as to which strains of these species will circulate in the next season. The US Food and Drug Administration approves vaccines that could treat the predicted strains based on laboratory and clinical studies; an error here could undo the vaccine’s effectiveness.

But it’s tough to vaccinate against H3N2, a strain of influenza A. This virus, unlike other viruses, can power-mutate as it spreads through crowds at a breathtaking rate. Though there are modern cell-based and recombinant methods of vaccine production, it isn’t clear whether they or the egg-based vaccines are more protective. Growing the flu virus in eggs is cheap and efficient, but the egg-based approach in relation to H3N2 has so far been ineffective, for the virus mutates to adapt to the eggs, resulting in a vaccine mismatch.

Warning: It’s Flu Season.

18 thoughts on “The Dominant H3N2

  1. meh? not sure if I agree with the chart.
    this was an informative post – however, here is my thought
    The best way to fight the flu is to have a string immune system.
    Sugar and heavy metals, like mercury, pull from immune function.
    Just read that the immune system literally shuts down when sugar is ingested.
    so eating those “high sugar fruits” might not be immune boosting and might not fight the flu as the poster suggests. especially if the person has metabolsim issues or candidiasis.
    second, because mercury is in every flu shot – and sure – they say low levels – but it is very toxic to the body and adds up….
    so in my very humble opinion – I am not so sure I like the pyramid or the content.

    they left out enzymes, good fats, and amino acids.
    but especially enzymes.
    viruses hijack enzymes and most cancers usually have a viral component as part of the cause…
    and enzymes are wonderful for combatting viruses.

  2. I actually don’t believe in flu shots and each year when winter approaches in Australia don’t get one. Time and time again I’ve seen those around me get the flu shot, and then they will fall sick and then if I am close to them enough, I will then get sick. I do agree a healthy diet and lifestyle will help us stay healthy and help us recover faster if we do catch a cold or flu. Staying away from those who are sick definitely helps. Then again, the more colds and flus you get, the more immune you become to certain strains of viruses – usually if you catch a strain of cold, you develop immunity against it and it’s unlikely you will catch that strain of it again unless it’s a mutated version.

    • Mutated versions are the worry, Mabel, because they can kill. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says at least 63 children have died of flu so far this season.

      Well the majority discourse here is if you receive a flu shot (as opposed to the one who doesn’t), you’re better protected against flu strains. As per a study, the one who got the shot is 25% protected against the H3N2 strain. Yes, Thimerosal, an ethyl mercury-based preservative, is used in multi-dose vials to protect against bacteria or fungi. Studies show no evidence of harm caused by its low doses in vaccines.

      There are public schools that don’t allow children back after X’mas holidays without a doctor’s note that they were given the shots. My son goes to a private school but he still had to get his shot to be allowed back.

      “Time and time again I’ve seen those around me get the flu shot, and then they will fall sick and then if I am close to them enough, I will then get sick” – sorry to hear that, Mabel, but anybody can get a flu – it’s easily contractable – only we don’t want it to be deadly. And here whether one believes or not, herd immunity is part of the logic supporting the mandatory vaccination, and they might be right. It’s your choice at the end of it and you’re responsible for your life as long as you obey the laws of the land.

      Thanks for your comment. Appreciate it 🙂

      • That is interesting to hear some schools don’t allow the children back if they don’t get the shots. The schools probably want to take every preventative flu measure possible, which is fair enough.

        Yes, anyone can get the flu, and the flu mutates faster than we can keep up. Best is to lead a healthy lifestyle and take care of ourselves to the best of our ability to stay safe 🙂

  3. Happily we’re about through the flu season here in the south and both my husband and I survived without contracting it. We both get flu shots and find that those who do, even when they get the flu find that they are over it much more quickly. I’m a big proponent of it as well as a healthy diet.

    • “We both get flu shots and find that those who do, even when they get the flu find that they are over it much more quickly” – I totally agree and that’s been my personal experience. If studies tomorrow show that shots are deadlier than the virus itself, we’d go with that discourse. But until then, as I just responded to Mabel, “whether one believes or not, herd immunity is part of the logic supporting the mandatory vaccination, and they might be right.” Thanks Tina so much for your time 🙂

  4. I think we’re so fortunate in the developed world to have access to antibiotics and vaccines. To ignore their benefits is risky. I denied the need for flu shots until about 15 years ago, when the flu hit me like a ton of bricks. Hereonafter, I made sure to get a flu shot every fall. I have rarely gotten the flu since then, and in the few times that I did (from traveling on planes, I’m sure) I was less ill than those who did not get the vaccine. But as others agree here, keeping our bodies strong through exercise and good eating habits helps a lot also.

    • Well said, Pam, and to each his own. A friend of mine thinks flu shots are dangerous and I respect his point of view. Similarly I expect him to respect my decisions. I told him that we should not be negatively critical of each other’s choice. We could discuss, debate, and even argue, but at the end of the day it’s our decision and we’re responsible for it. Thanks dear for sharing your insight. Much appreciated 🙂

  5. The flu season is over in this part of the world. Flu shots are said to be 10% effective and last November, when my grandchildren were taken to their doctor for flu shots, he told us this and advised us against it! That’s one thing I like here – honest dealings! 🙂
    Thanks for this informative post Mahesh. Stay blessed.

  6. This is such an informative post, Mahesh. Mutated versions are the real trouble in case of any disease and its tough to get any preventive measures for them. We find no options but to go for such flu shots which mostly not that effective. Stay safe.

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