Recently, several discoveries have moved us much closer to a universal flu vaccine. For example, one group of researchers successfully completed several years of searching to find antibodies that neutralize the multitude of influenza A and B viruses variants. Also, right around the same time last month, another group showed that individuals who received prior flu vaccinations should still respond strongly to a universal vaccine. Previously, there was concern that a universal flu vaccine would not work with adults that were previous immunized against the flu.
While a goal for many years, it seems real progress is finally being made toward a universal flu vaccine. Much of this seems to be due to advances in screening technology, enabling scientist to evaluate more combinations and variations of antibodies than previously. Also, advances in computational analysis and data from high throughput DNA sequencing has enabled laboratories to better examine and understand the characteristics of the plethora of viral strains and look for common elements to target.
For details on recent developments toward a universal flu vaccine, read my recently posted review, Overcoming the Hurdles to a Universal Flu Vaccine.