Flu study develops novel vaccine technology
A team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin – Madison has developed the new technology. They used a kind of research that is now paused by the federal government, as the federal government is creating regulations to prohibit how some viruses are manipulated. The new discovery shows that such research is valuable.
As of today, many flu vaccines are created by using fertilized chicken eggs in which the vaccine viruses are grown. The only viruses that are included are the ones considered a positive match for pandemic or seasonal flu strains. These viruses are grown within the eggs before being deactivated using chemicals. Then, the viruses are purified into a raw material for the vaccine.
Unfortunately, avian flu outbreaks could be detrimental to this method of creating flu vaccines.
"Existing strains of flu vaccine virus don't grow well in cells and there is only one company in the U.S. currently using cell-based production methods," Yoshihiro Kawaoka, professor of pathobiological sciences whose group performed the work, said. "But there is a trend toward cell-based production and we think this work can contribute to that."
Further details are available in the Nature Communications journal.