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Producing flu vaccines will be faster and cheaper, thanks to MSU technology

us grows in the eggs and is then killed and purified to make the vaccine. Each egg is injected with only one virus strain (a typical flu vaccine contains three strains) and produces enough virus for one or two doses.

This means that huge numbers of fertilized chicken eggs are needed 270 million or more to produce a sufficient vaccine supply for the United States. The process is time consuming and inflexible because vaccine makers have to order eggs months ahead of time. If there are any problems with the eggs, such as infection by another virus, the entire lot of flu vaccine is lost. Plus, anyone with an egg allergy can't have the vaccine.

"By growing cell culture-based flu virus, the cost and the time needed to produce the vaccine will be much lower," Coussens said. "We'll also be able to produce much more vaccine in a smaller space. And the virus that is grown is more pure. People with allergies to eggs are likely to benefit the most because they'll be able to have flu shots without the threat of allergic complications."


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Contact: Sue Nichols
nichols@msu.edu
517-353-8942
Michigan State University
10-Jul-2006


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