Scientists have successfully tested a vaccine designed to give lifelong protection against all types of flu, attaining promising results in human trials.
Made by Acambis, the vaccine may provide protection against all strains of influenza A, the cause of pandemics.
Since the flu virus keeps changing, winter flu jabs require regular redesigning. Experts believe that the new vaccine would overcome this.
They even say that the new vaccine may be stockpiled in advance of a bird flu outbreak.
The trials, conducted in the US, have proved the vaccine to be safe and effective in providing the body immunity against flu.
According to reports, nine of the 10 people who had received two doses of the jab ACAM-FLU-A developed antibodies against flu virus.
"As a universal vaccine, ACAM-FLU-A can potentially overcome many of the drawbacks of existing influenza vaccines," the BBC quoted Dr. Michael Watson of Acambis as saying.
"It can be manufactured at any time of the year, and could be stockpiled in advance of a pandemic or potentially used routinely to ensure population protection against future pandemics," he added.
However, a University of Reading virologist, Professor Ian Jones, said that it would still be some years before it was widely available for patients.
"Larger trials and tests on a wider range of viruses will be needed before the full potential for pandemic protection can be assured," he said.