Inside labs working on a universal flu vaccine

ABC News' David Kerley goes inside the National Institutes of Health headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland, where scientists are working to create a universal vaccine against the influenza virus.
3:30 | 02/23/18

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Transcript for Inside labs working on a universal flu vaccine
We're back with new developments in the fight against the flu. 84 children have died from it. Scientists are searching for a universal vaccine and ABC's David Kerley got exclusive access to the headquarters in bethesda, Maryland and has much more. Good morning. Reporter: Good morning. Nih is one of the country's premiere research hospitals and this team is in the middle of a study which could lead to that universal vaccine, one you wouldn't need every year and we were here and watched as they purposely infected volunteers with the flu. That's great, that's fine. Reporter: In one of the worst flu seasons ever. We picked up the h1. N1 virus. Reporter: This doctor is preparing to infect three perfectly healthy people with the flu virus including Emily. You're hoping to solve it down the road that you don't get the flu. Exactly. For myself and then for young children. Reporter: Nih using its special studies unit where it treated ebola patients paying patients $3500 to get the flu and be quarantined for ten days. What are you helping the researchers accomplish. It may sound crazy but hopefully one day we have stronger medication or just hopefully a cure. If you're going to need to wear a Marv and gloves. This is it. This is the dose of virus in the bag. Reporter: For the patients, a nasal spray. I'm going to give you a spray in each nostril. Reporter: Containing the virus. Number 4. Reporter: Which caused the 2004 pandemic. 24 hours later she is feeling sick. I had an itchy throat last night. Some patients getting a drug containing a new antibody to see if it can pvent them from getting sicker. At the same time we're trying to learn about what parts of the immune system are needed to protect people against the flu in order to make a better universal vaccine. Reporter: A universal vaccine, the holy grail. Each year the flu virus changes a bit. But some parts of the virus stay the same. If researchers find a way to attack that part, they could make a universal vaccine which you wouldn't need every year. What has this flu season taught us? That with regard to vaccines, we need to do better. Reporter: Emily and Marcus are trying to help this morning by fighting the flu for science. And they are monitoring Emily and Marcus, that's part of the test, they actually have cameras in the room so they can see how they're feeling. There is progress being made on a vaccine, robin. A universal vaccine, they say could be 10 or 15 years away but that means only one shot or even maybe something else. And I understand that an old treatment is making a comeback. Reporter: I was hinting at that. Remember the parents, instead of getting the shot for the children like that nasal spray. A couple of years ago they didn't think it was working properly. The drugmaker has now improved it and have the recommendation back and we will probably see the nasal sprays back next year as we continue this annual flu until we get to the U.S. Universal vaccine. Some parents are saying, yes, as long as it is effective and that seems like it is the case. You didn't want to be infected with the flu. You want to report on it but don't want to be a participant. You got it. Exactly. Yeah. Wise man. Wise man.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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