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April 11, 2007

Branswell: Flu vaccine grown in caterpillar virus

One of my many personal failings is that flu-vaccine stories bore me to tears. But when Helen Branswell reports Flu vaccine grown in caterpillar virus, I sit up and pay attention. Excerpt from C-Health:

Harnessing the impressive protein production power of a virus that normally infects caterpillars may be a way of the future for the manufacture of flu vaccine.

American researchers reported Tuesday that flu vaccine grown in caterpillar cells infected with modified baculoviruses was safe and protective against influenza.

The study, published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is part of a dossier the manufacturer, Protein Sciences Corp., is amassing in the hopes of convincing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve an eventual licence application.

The study's lead author, vaccine expert Dr. John Treanor, suggested Tuesday that while flu vaccine grown in insect cells is unlikely to become the industry norm, it is probable that this product will find a place in the growing market of flu vaccines.

"I don't think there is such a thing as 'the' way of the future for flu vaccine. (But) I believe this approach is a viable alternative for making a flu vaccine," Treanor, director of the vaccine treatment and evaluation unit at the University of Rochester, N.Y., said in an interview.

"I think that in the future we'll probably see many different kinds of flu vaccines, perhaps targeted to different populations. And this will be one of them."

Posted by dymaxion at April 11, 2007 11:10 PM

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