But Fuller is developing a flu shot, called a DNA vaccine, that could change the game.
“It is coming, this is the future of flu vaccines -- to have a universal flu vaccine,” Fuller said. “We really believe we can do better than to have to guess every single year what to include in the vaccine and hope it's a good enough match,” she said.
The new “universal” vaccine uses genetic material of the influenza virus – the part that doesn't mutate – and teaches your body to recognize it.
“They go like little micro injections into your skin cells,” Fuller explained.
But you won’t have to endure a shot or any needles. Her lab developed a "gene gun" that loads up microscopic particles with the DNA into a cartridge, then it uses gas to push out the particles into your skin.
“Then your skin cells are going to start producing flu antigens,” Fuller said.
Fuller is also working on developing a disposable version of the gene gun that would be self-contained and could be widely distributed.