Steps away from a medical breakthrough - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

No more flu shots?

TYLER, TX (KLTV) – The work of one East Texas scientist could change the way we fight the flu.

Amir Shams, a scientist at University of Texas Health Science Center, says the answer to fighting the flu is already part of who we are.

"In the United States, thirty-six to forty-thousand people die annually due to seasonal influenza complications," says Shams.

Vaccines only fight a few strands of the flu. After years of research, Dr. Amir Shams is just a few steps away from a medical breakthrough.

"Certainly it's a new tool to supplement what we have in hand and we think it will be a very powerful tool and very innovative," explains Shams.

Instead of getting an annual flu shot, people could soon be using a nasal spray to boost their immune system. The chemical used in the medicine, which scientists call GM-CSF, is found largely in mice. They began their research by using mice as test models.

"We have infected them with a large dose of flu, and all of them have been protected one-hundred percent," says Shams.

Dr. Shams is confident his research could be the key to saving lives. Shams says the medicine still has to undergo more clinical studies and be approved by the FDA before it is available to the public. He estimates that the process will take at least three years.

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