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Visualizing Immune System Data to Develop New Treatments and Vaccines

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

David Topham, Ph.D. was recently featured in the Medical Center "Make a Difference Campaign.

Viruses and bacteria that infect the respiratory tract are a leading cause of death worldwide, despite advances in antibiotics and vaccines. At the University of Rochester, our history of vaccine development is responsible for saving hundreds of thousands of lives each year around the world. Today, we are using data science innovation to gain new insights into how the immune system works to reduce the global burden of respiratory pathogens and develop more effective treatments and vaccines.

Read the flyer.

Is It Too Soon to Get the Flu Vaccine?

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Pharmacies have been advertising the shot for weeks already, but in some cases it might pay to wait before you vaccinate

After last winter’s severe flu season—and in the face of all those flu shot ads at pharmacies—you may be wondering if it's best to get vaccinated right now to safeguard yourself this winter.

After all, last year’s season set new records both for numbers of children who died from flu and for flu-related hospitalizations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But should you get the shot now, before the flu even arrives? Or might that undermine its effectiveness in January and February, when flu season is in full swing?

The current formulation of the flu shot being used there (which is the same as the U.S. vaccine) appears to be well-matched with the viruses circulating there.

That could mean we’re in store for a mild season in the Northern Hemisphere, too—as long as those strains are the same ones that crop up here.

Another good sign is that so far, the strains of flu virus currently circulating in southern countries appear similar to the strains that predominated during last winter’s season here (notably, subtypes of influenza B and the H1N1 and H3N2 strains of influenza A), says David Topham, Ph.D., director of the New York Influenza Center of Excellence and professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Read More: Is It Too Soon to Get the Flu Vaccine?

Should You Get a Flu Shot After the Flu?

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

If you skipped this year’s flu shot and then came down with the virus, you may think there’s no point to getting the vaccine now.

But you’d be wrong.

There are good reasons to get a flu shot, even if you’ve already been sick, says David Topham, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Rochester and director of the New York Influenza Center of Excellence.

You can catch the flu more than once in a season—because having one “type” of flu doesn’t provide immunity against the other types that may be circulating. “The way your immune system sees them is very different,” Topham says. Two types commonly make people ill: type A and type B. This flu season, as is typical, most cases of flu so far have been type A (the H3N2 strain).

Read More: Should You Get a Flu Shot After the Flu?