First Genetically Engineered Flu Vaccine Now on the Market
“Despite evidence to the contrary, the conventional view is that getting inoculated is the best way to protect yourself against the flu, and to make more flu vaccines available faster, the FDA recently approved a number of novel flu vaccines.
The first, Flublok, is produced by programming insect cells to produce hemagglutinin, a flu virus protein essential for entry of the virus into your body’s cells. Flublok is “the first the first trivalent influenza vaccine made using an insect virus (baculovirus) expression system and recombinant DNA technology,” and is approved for use in adults only, ages 18-49. This kind of genetically engineered vaccine technology, while you may never have heard of it before, has already been used in the production of vaccines against other infectious diseases. According to CNN:
“This method allows for more rapid production, making more of the vaccine available more quickly in the event of a pandemic… Flublok will be available in limited supply this winter and widely available during the next flu season, said Protein Sciences, which is based in Meriden, Connecticut.
Flublok contains the elements necessary to help fend off three different flu strains, including H1N1 and H3N2, the regulator said. And it proved 44.6% effective against all influenza strains in circulation, not just those that matched the strains included in the vaccine, according to the FDA.”