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Step closer to swine flu vaccine

29th May 2009

UK scientists at the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control have produced a viral strain which could be used to make a vaccine for swine flu.

Vaccination1

The team said their work was a "crucial step" towards the manufacture of a vaccine which could treat large numbers of people.

Researchers in America have also discovered a strain which could be used to make a vaccine against the H1N1 virus.

In order to find a strain, researchers must make a "hybrid strain" which combine the swine flu virus with a known "laboratory" strain.

The UK team used the "reverse genetics" technique. They combined gene sequences from the H1N1 virus, which can be identified by the immune system, with gene sequences from the laboratory strain.

The goal of this type of research is to produce a virus which a person's immune system can identify as the H1N1 virus, but can be safely and easily manufactured in large batches.

Dr Stephen Inglis, director of NIBSC, said the team had been "working around the clock" since May.

He added: "I am delighted that they have been successful so quickly."

"The strain is now available for supply to vaccine manufacturers so that they can begin the first steps in the vaccine production process, and to other flu laboratories around the world for research."

 

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