Meanwhile, Protein Sciences and Novavax genetically engineer insect viruses to produce flu vaccine components in insect cells. Novavax’ viruslike particles (VLPs) contain three influenza proteins: hemagglutinin, neuraminidase, and an internal matrix protein. These VLPs are similar in size and structure to the virus, which is good for eliciting an immune response, but they are not infectious. Novavax made its first batch of H1N1 VLPs three weeks after receiving the gene sequence and manufactured bulk clinical-grade material for filling doses in about 11 weeks. Since June, it has been working with NIH to evaluate its 2009 H1N1 vaccine candidate. Protein Sciences takes a similar route, but its vaccines contain purified recombinant hemagglutinin, which by itself takes on an immunogenic particle-like structure.
by Ann M. Thayer |
September 28, 2009