Past flu pandemics have spread quickly and virulently, leaving behind significant damage before a vaccine could be readied. Now comes real hope that such delays won’t happen again. Scientists at the drug maker Novartis report they have been able to design a vaccine for the latest strain of flu to hit China within one week of receiving the virus’s genetic code, relying on groundbreaking work in the field of synthetic biology done at the firm’s Cambridge campus.
Although not yet tested on a large scale, this accelerated process makes it all the more vital that countries like China openly share information from the first signs of a health crisis. Indeed, with the right coordination and price, this technology could see the end of flu pandemics altogether.