• linkedin
  • Increase Font
  • Sharebar

    Caterpillars may edge out chicken eggs for vaccine production

    Caterpillars may be more effective than chicken eggs as a vehicle for flu vaccines, according to a new study that evaluated the efficacy of a newer, DNA-based flu vaccine.

    The study, “Efficacy of Recombinant Influenza Vaccine in Adults 50 Years of Age or Older,” was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and revealed that a vaccine grown in caterpillar cells was 30% more effective at preventing influenza infection than standard vaccines grown in chicken eggs.

    The study investigated more than 9,000 patients who were given either the caterpillar-grown vaccine (FluBlok) or a standard flu vaccine. Lisa M. Dunkle, MD, chief medical officer at vaccine developer Protein Sciences Corp., and one of the report authors, told Medical Economics the vaccine is likely more effective because while chickens and their eggs are a good host to vaccine growth due to their susceptibility to the viruses, the viruses also tend to mutate while growing in the eggs. FluBlok is made through genetic engineering, with a piece of human flu virus grafted onto an insect virus and grown in a type of caterpillar called the fall army worm, or Spodoptera frugiperd. Researchers believe this host may result in fewer mutations of the antigen in the vaccine and a higher dosage of those antigens.

    Dunkle said Flublok is made in a way that produces a pure influenza hemagglutinin protein that is an exact genetic match to the vaccine strain selected each season by WHO and FDA.

    “Each Flublok dose contains three times the quantity of active ingredient (hemagglutinin) as standard dose inactivated vaccines and is the only higher-dose flu vaccine that is a quadrivalent product,” Dunkle said.

    Next: A more rapid response to outbreaks

     

    Rachael Zimlich, RN
    Rachael Zimlich is a freelance writer in Cleveland, Ohio. She writes regularly for Contemporary Pediatrics, Managed Healthcare ...

    0 Comments

    You must be signed in to leave a comment. Registering is fast and free!

    All comments must follow the ModernMedicine Network community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated. ModernMedicine reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part,in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

    • No comments available

    Latest Tweets Follow

    Poll