Vaccines could be cultured in insect cells rather than eggs

University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences in Vienna have developed a method of vaccine production that uses insect cell-based technology and produces vaccines for swine flu faster than traditional egg-based vaccine production.

Using this new approach, the researchers created recombinant influenza virus-like particles (VLPs) in just 10 weeks, rather than the months it takes using conventional production methods. VLPs resemble virus particles but aren't infectious because they lack the viral nucleic acid.

The use of insect cells also avoids other egg-based production disadvantages, such as allergic reactions to egg proteins, biosafety issues and limited production capacity, the researchers said.

"Our work demonstrates that recombinant influenza virus-like particles are a very fast, safe and efficient alternative to conventional influenza vaccines and represent a significant new approach for newly emerging influenza strains like swine-origin H1N1 or H5N1," study co-author Florian Krammer.

The study appeared in a Biotechnology Journal, news release, Jan. 5, 2010

First published in January 2010


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