The CDC estimates that around 140,000 and 700,000 people get sick from flu every year. In most of the cases, patients need hospital care. From these cases, 12,000—56,000 people die yearly. However, a new flu vaccine has been found and tested.
A New Flu Vaccine Shows Improvement of Influenza Treatment
Researchers say that a DNA-based vaccine grown in the caterpillar cell, instead of being grown in chicken eggs, seems to be more effective in the treatment of flu.
The new flu vaccine, called FluBlok, is only one of the half-dozen vaccines available on the U.S. market. It is made using modern technology that approaches the genetic manipulation of the virus gene responsible for the flu disease.
Dr. John Treanor of the University of Rochester Medical Center, a flu vaccine expert not involved in the study, states that
“It’s clear that we need better vaccines — no doubt about it. And this may be a step in the right direction”.
Especially because it is, as said above, a major death factor. Another reason to claim that the new flu vaccine is a step forward is that influenza vaccines are slow to grow. The typical approach is to isolate and grow the flu virus in the lab, then inject it in the chicken eggs, where it grows. Afterwards, the result is purified, the virus gene is killed or weakened, in order to not infect people.
But, scientists say, the virus mutates constantly, and often than not it changes after the vaccine is given to the population. But by using insect cells, thus genetic engineering, only one piece of the flu virus is injected into an insect virus. The fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperd) is the insect whose cells were used to grow the virus for the new flu vaccine. The idea is that, by using genetic engineering, the root of the virus and the virus itself are isolated and thus it cannot further mutate.
The new flu vaccine, FluBlok, might also offer a bigger dose of flu antigen than other, traditional vaccines, researchers say.
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