Monday, May 25, 2009

Vaccine for H1N1 possible

May 24, 2009

(ChattahBox) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying they had two promising candidate viruses for use in a H1N1 swine flu vaccine. Dr. Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s interim deputy director for science and publichealth program, said during a news conference on Friday:

“Today the CDC received, from one institution (New York Medical College), a candidate vaccine virus created by combining the genes of the novel H1N1 virus with other parts from other viruses. This type of hybrid virus will grow more easily in eggs, an essential part of the vaccine production process.”

The CDC, along with the FDA, has also created a second candidate virus using reverse genetics, Schuchat said.  The CDC is testing both viruses to make sure they can stimulate an optimal immune response, Schuchat said. “After that work is done suitable viruses will be sent out to manufacturers. We expect by the end of May that will happen,” she said, starting the months-long process of producing shots. 

If one or both prove usable, manufacturers could begin producing pilot lots for testing this summer to see if the shots are safe, trigger immune protection and require one dose or two.  The Department of Health and Human Services reported on Friday that $1 billion is available to aid in the search for a vaccine.

On a side note, a study released on Friday suggests that many of the genes that make up the new H1N1 swine flu virus have been circulating undetected in pigs for more than a decade. Pig populations around the world need to be more closely monitored for emerging influenza viruses, the CDC-led team concluded. 

This new strain of combined human, bird, and swine viruses 

has led to 86 deaths and is confirmed to have infected 11,000 individuals worldwide.

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