Modernizing flu vaccine production

Vaccine Makers Struggle to Speed Output


... the U.S. is still struggling to modernize and speed up production of vaccinations against deadly pandemics like swine flu. The system is undermined by a lack of manufacturing plants and by decades-old technology that takes six to nine months to make flu vaccine.

The new Novartis plant, heavily financed by the U.S. government, represents one of the biggest steps in 60 years toward modernizing flu-vaccine manufacturing in the U.S. It uses new technology to grow flu viruses in vats of cells derived from dog kidneys, and uses these viruses to make vaccine. The decades-old process involves growing the virus in chicken eggs.

Novartis says the new approach could shave four to six weeks off the time needed to make each shot. The plant has other advantages: If a deadly avian-flu virus hit, it could kill scores of chickens and endanger the supply of eggs needed to make vaccine the old-fashioned way. Cell-culture technology removes that risk.

Comment: Interesting because explains cell-culture technology (select article for nice graphic). Democrats want to impose higher taxes on vaccine producers (below):

Reform tax would hit H1N1 vaccine manufacturers

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