A universal flu vaccine that protects against all strains of the virus may be “within reach” in the next five years, replacing the need for annual flu vaccines that target specific season strains.

Speaking to USA today,¬†Francis Collins said that he is “guardedly optimistic” about development of a universal vaccine. Francsis, the chief of the US National Institutes of Health went on to say that it “seemed completely out of reach only a few years ago,” “there are parts of the viral coat that don’t change… If you designed a vaccine to go after the constant part of the virus, you’d be protected against all strains”

Collins also spoke about other areas of research that are likely to trigger advances in Alzheimer’s, Diabetes and HIV.