Synthetic biology could speed flu vaccine production

The following is an excerpt of a longer story.

Synthetic biology is breathing new life into the old-fashioned world of vaccine production, raising hopes that manufacturers could release vaccines much more quickly when outbreaks occur.

At a meeting on synthetic biology held at MIT, the drug company Novartis said it has synthesized hybrid flu genomes in a process that could shave weeks off the time required to produce vaccines. When new flu strain emerges, government agencies normally send samples to vaccine manufacturers, who grow large numbers of the pathogen in chicken eggs as starting material for vaccines, saysPhilip Dormitzer, leader of viral vaccine research for Novartis. This process can take months and can miss the peak of an outbreak. But Novartis, working with synthetic biologists, has developed a way of chemically synthesizing virus genomes and growing them in tissue culture cells. That saves time and may produce more effective vaccines.

View the full story here: Synthetic Biology Could Speed Flu Vaccine Production

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Editor’s Note: The GLP touched on this topic in our newsletter feature about the use of modern genetics and synthetic bio to fight the H5N7 bird flu emerging in China.

 

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