CHICAGO (WBBM/CBS) — A University of Chicago researcher says the 2009 flu pandemic has provided clues that might help get rid of the disease entirely one day.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s John Cody has the story, H1N1 flu, also called swine flu, hospitalized 250,000 people in the United States in 2009.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s John Cody reports

But the virus might have sown the seeds of the influenza virus’ own destruction.

Influenza viruses are slippery and changeable, and thus hard to attack, but U of C immunologist Patrick Wilson says the 2009 strain of the H1N1 virus showed researchers exactly what it is that makes influenza unique, and thus vulnerable.

But Dr. Wilson says you’ll still have to keep taking flu shots until the research can translate into a vaccine.

“For you and for the sake of public health and elderly people; pregnant women, we need to control flu on a population basis, with a vaccine every year,” Wilson said.

Published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, Dr. Wilson says the new research shows how to make one single vaccine that could potentially provide immunity to all influenza.

The H1N1 flu caused a worldwide scare in 2009, a year during which more than 2,000 hospitalizations and more than 60 deaths were caused by the virus in Illinois alone.