A flu shot that lasts for a decade could be a reality within two years, top hospital executive told CNBC in an interview, along with "real steps" toward a cancer vaccine.
In an interview with CNBC, Mount Sinai Health System CEO and President Kenneth Davis says scientists at Mount Sinai, in collaboration with other researchers, have a "universal flu vaccine" now in development with a company.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this year's flu season is "shaping up to be a severe one." The CDC reports 43 states are suffering through "high or widespread" flu activity. Federal health officials are warning this year's flu strain is more virulent than in year's past, and does not match this year's virus.
For his part, Davis says "some parts of the country are seeing six percent of doctor and ER visits for the flu." He added that the reason this year's flu vaccine is not as effective as in the past is because the virus has mutated.
"What we have a vaccine for is producing antibodies that are somewhat different than what this flu is. That happens." However, the universal flu vaccine in development is aimed at the part of the flu that doesn't actually adapt, he added.
"The ideal vaccine is directed at the stable part of the virus that doesn't change from year-to-year. "That's very hard to do."
Davis says the progress is promising. "We would hope that in a couple of years we'll have a universal flu vaccine."