Developing a flu vaccine is not easy. It’s often a guessing game.

“A lot of this is random. It’s hard to get it right,” said Scripps Research Associate Matthew Gardner.

In Jupiter at Scripps Research Institute, Research Associate Matthew Gardner said each year there are about three or four different strains of the flu that are put into a vaccine.

Gardner said right now in the midst of this flu season, scientists are already deciding which strains are going to be included in the vaccine next flu season.

“Basically what happens is there’s a lot of people that are going throughout the world and seeing what strains are circulating on a yearly basis,” said Gardner.

Gardner said they have to start developing the vaccine well in advance of next flu season because there has to be enough time for it is made.

But a lot can change in a few months.

“You have all that time in which the flu can change. So sometimes by the time, the vaccine is made the prevalent strains that are circulating are different,” said Gardner.

That’s what he says happened this year.

Scientists at Scripps California campus are working on creating a universal flu vaccine that would prevent every strain of the virus.

“One of the ways they’re trying to make a universal flu vaccine is by identifying antibodies that can hit every single one of these flu proteins,” said Gardner.

Gardner said the universal vaccine that Scripps is working on could come to fruition in the next five to ten years.

He also said if you receive the flu vaccine every year your cells will recognize and block multiple strains of the flu.