Limited supplies of chicken eggs equate to limited supplies of egg-produced vaccines–a major problem should a pandemic occur. Furthermore, many people (myself included) are allergic to a protein in egg whites and resist using vaccines grown in embryonated chicken eggs. Egg allergy is second only to milk allergy in children and adults.
What’s a health-minded girl to do? Well, insects may come to the rescue. Ta-da-da-DAH!
H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine can be produced more quickly using insect cells, scientists in Vienna have found. The team took just ten weeks to produce recombinant influenza virus-like particles (VLPs), which resemble virus particles but lack the viral nucleic acid, so they are not infectious. This outcompetes conventional production methods which take months.
The research was published yesterday in the Biotechnology Journal.
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