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FDA is Already Working on Next Year’s Flu Vaccine

February 27, 2018, 7:27 PM UTC

We’re still in the midst of the 2018 flu season, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is already working on a vaccine for next year.

The process of creating the new vaccine starts by studying flu cases from this year and figuring out why this year’s vaccine wasn’t as effective with influenza A—this year’s deadliest strain—as the previous year’s. This year’s vaccine was 20% less effective than last year’s vaccine against all strains fo the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

By closely analyzing the data, the FDA hopes it will be able to develop a more effective vaccine for the 2019 flu season, ABC News reports.

This year’s flu season is thought to be nearing its peak, if not on a downward trend. Reported cases have dropped over the past week, and the number of states reporting a high traffic of people sick with the flu has declined to 39 from 43.

Experts warn that the flu season could extend into April.