The federal government is providing incentives for biotech companies to use more modern and efficient ways to develop vaccines. A new U.S. flu plan released yesterday would provide Health and Human Services support [for] the development of at least three influenza vaccine candidates whose manufacture does not depend on virus grown in eggs or cells [and set-up] cross-agency teams to actively seek out good ideas and make sure they get developed.
The traditional method of growing viral and cell cultures in eggs is so tedious and anachronistic, says ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan. More innovative and efficient technologies could really facilitate vaccine development in times of public health emergencies, as well.
The ability to more quickly develop vaccines is especially important as the world becomes smaller, in terms of more global travel and trade, where viruses spread more quickly today, than even a generation ago, says ACSH's Jeff Stier.
For ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross, this initiative is a welcome relief. This plan has been discussed since the bioterror threat of 2001. It s about time that progress is finally being made towards modernizing our vaccine production process.