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First GMO Flu Vaccine Approved for U.S. Patients

First GMO Flu Vaccine Approved for U.S. Patients

In a technological leap forward, medical company Protein Sciences has produced and gotten approval by the FDA for a flu vaccine made of genetically engineered proteins gathered from caterpillars. Adults aged 18 – 49 years are cleared to receive the shot, with doses available in limited supply for the current flu season.

The vaccine, called Flublok, is produced by isolating a protein from the flu virus and inserting it into a virus that affects fall army worms. Then, billions of cells derived from army worms are infected with this recombinant virus. Once enough of the protein is produced, scientists extract and purify it for the season’s vaccine.

“Flublok is truly a modern vaccine. We use advanced scientific technology to make just the active ingredient of the vaccine without any other viral components. This is the first influenza vaccine on the market to do so,” said Manon Cox, CEO of Protein Sciences, in a statement.

The vaccine is considered a breakthrough because it significantly reduces the time needed to produce a flu vaccine and it is not produced using live viruses, which present a hazardous manufacturing risk.

Since strains of the flu virus change every year, scientists must produce a different vaccine each season. Current vaccines are made with millions of chicken eggs using a 60-year-old process. Hybridized strains of the virus are injected into the eggs, where they grow before being extracted. This process is time-consuming, imprecise, and poses a problem for those with egg allergies. Government officials have also expressed concern that if there were ever a widespread epidemic infecting birds, an egg shortage would prove a disaster for manufacturing the vaccine.

Flublok protects against three different flu strains just like currently available vaccines. However, it is 44 percent effective against all circulating strains of influenza, not just the ones the vaccine targets. It also trumps current vaccines in that it contains no preservatives and three times the amount of active ingredient to protect against the flu.

Detractors point out that the vaccine may not be any more effective than current vaccines at preventing illness, which protect people 62 percent of the time. What is needed, says Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, is a vaccine that protects 80 to 90 percent of the time. He was one of the lead researchers in a report released last November that said the flu vaccine was over-promoted, over-hyped and less effective than the CDC says it is.

But scientists are racing to produce an improved vaccine, especially a universal flu vaccine that would only have to be administered every 5 to 10 years. Already, two seasonal vaccines are approved that fight against four strains of flu rather than the usual three, and another manufacturing process akin to the caterpillar cell one uses dog kidney cells, also speeding up how fast vaccines can be ready for the public. More vaccines manufacturers are also now located in America rather than overseas in the case of a global pandemic. Flublok’s sister vaccine, Panblok, is designed to protect against pandemic influenza.

 

Also Read:

Boy Scouts Sell GMO-Free Popcorn for a Healthier Food Fundraiser

Too Little Sleep May Weaken Our Body’s Response to Vaccines

5 Natural Flu and Cold Remedies

 

Read more: Cold and Flu, Family, Health, Technology, , , , , , , ,

Written by Sarah Shultz for Diets in Review

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97 comments

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3:24PM PDT on Oct 30, 2014

Live long and prosper

11:23AM PST on Jan 21, 2014

TY

8:13PM PDT on May 27, 2013

Um, what about seniors???

7:48AM PST on Mar 2, 2013

There once was a girl named Ophelia
who shunned shots for measles, mumps and diptheria.
Her excuses were inane.
Then measles atttacked her brain.
And now she has total amnesia !

6:02PM PST on Feb 21, 2013

fascinating........still waiting for the 5 to 10 yr flu vaccine, but for now get vaccinated keep yourself and others healthy.....flu still kills and you wouldn't want to be the one spreading it.....

5:55PM PST on Feb 21, 2013

This is fascinating! I almost want to read the paranoid ramblings of the scientific illiterate.

4:05AM PST on Feb 21, 2013

thank you

4:52PM PST on Feb 20, 2013

GMO's are going to be the terrible vice of the detriment of health for generations to come. It is FOREIGN (to the body) DNA. It has absolutely no place in food system or in vaccines.

As a country we are diving in head first into a pool where we can't see the bottom. Shallow? Deep? No can honestly say. I say it will turn out for the worst(for us).

9:15AM PST on Feb 16, 2013

Norma, what would that "population control" be? The insidious, dastardly physicians and scientists trying to save lives by creating a vaccine or letting the virus run rampant?

After all, the 1918 flu pandemic only killed close to 100 million people worldwide.

This ignorance and unfounded skepticism of science and medicine is the more likely way to control the population because not taking the precautions we've learned to take is a great way of getting killed by something that can be prevented or cured.

5:12AM PST on Feb 16, 2013

Another way of population control?

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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