Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Progress: Flu vaccine without smashing eggs

Photonics Health

It may take breaking eggs to make omelettes, but are you aware that making conventional flu vaccines requires millions of fertilised eggs each year? As well as a major headache (for the hen) this also may mean the vaccine is unsuitable for those with egg allergies. 

Until now that is. 

Flublok from US biotech Protein Sciences has become the first flu vaccine made using an insect virus to win marketing approval in the US. Growing the virus in cell lines, unlike eggs, means cells can be frozen for later use, possibly reacting more quickly to emergencies. In November 2012, the FDA approved Flucelvax from Novartis. This was the first vaccine based on cell lines, rather than eggs, to reach the market. Flublok differs as it does not require flu viruses. It contains three, full-length, recombinant haemagglutinin proteins. This increases protection against two influenza virus A strains, H1N1 and H3N2, and one influenza virus B strain. 

The hen can relax!

Photo credit: Nina Matthews Photography / Foter.com / CC BY


 Source: Chemistry World

Photonics Health