From La Crosse Tribune:
A UW-Madison scientist says a method he developed to predict flu virus mutations could make the annual flu vaccine more effective by better matching it to the flu strains that circulate each flu season.
The development by virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka follows research he did last year suggesting another way to improve flu shots: manufacturing them with dog or monkey cells instead of the current, lengthy process using chicken eggs.
Kawaoka’s findings come despite an effective ban on some of his research, which started in October 2014. The government asked him and others to stop studies that raised concerns about biosecurity during a review of the risks and benefits.
The approach allowed Kawaoka and his colleagues to assemble the 2014 flu virus before the onset of the epidemic, UW-Madison said in a news release.
In the study reported last year, Kawaoka used a process called reverse genetics to generate flu strains that could grow well in dog or monkey kidney cells, which regular flu viruses generally don’t do.
Most flu vaccines approved in the United States are egg-based. Only one uses the method Kawaoka studied, called a cell-based vaccine.
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