Crazy random happenstance considering the post earlier this week on ‘religious’ vegans refusing the influenza vaccine in hospitals:

Flublok, a Flu Vaccine, Wins F.D.A. Approval

The vaccine, developed by a small company called Protein Sciences, is made with a process that does not require the virus to be grown in chicken eggs, as is now generally done.

I had no idea this was in the works– No insider info, just great news, for vegans, people with egg allergies, and YOU!

Some folks figured out a way to make The Flu Vaccine (a mix of three different influenza variants) in an insect cell line. This means:

  • Nothing is dying to make this vaccine except for cells. No insects are dying. Just cells.
  • The cell-line was made from ovary tissue from the insects. There are no aborted insect babies in the new influenza vaccine.
  • Because these are insect cells, they do not require serum (animal products) to grow.
  • Sf9 cells are stock laboratory materials. Not some rare reagent.  If we need a new flu vaccine RIGHT NOW for some reason, we dont have to wait to get a bunch of eggs.  We have to wait a couple days to grow up a TON of Sf9 cells.  In an emergency, this will be a faster way to generate influenza vaccines.
  • No eggs. You can have all the egg allergies you want and get this vaccine.

And best of all:

  • It works. Well, as much as flu vaccines work.

The paper was published in 2011–

Protective efficacy of a trivalent recombinant hemagglutinin protein vaccine (FluBlok®) against influenza in healthy adults: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial.

4648 people, randomized into 2344 FluBlok and 2304 saline.

There were the three components in this vaccine that were in the ‘normal’ vaccine– 78% had a good response to component 1 (A-H1N1),  81% to component 2 (A-H3N2), and 52% to component 3 (B).

But because the vaccine makers guessed wrong the year of the study, what was in the vaccine and what was in nature were mismatched.  Thus, they didnt get enough people infected with the vaccine strains to do good stats on them, specifically, but they did get a good number of people infected with the flu.

The vaccine was 54.4% protective against non-vaccine Influenza A (B had some stats issues, but it was 44.6% overall).

 

And all of this was made possible by… A GMO VIRUS!!

Influenza wants nothing to do with insect cells. You cant grow flu in bug cells.

So how do you grow influenza proteins in insect cells?

Pop the influenza hemagglutinin gene (or three!) into an insect virus, baculovirus. Baculovirus infects an insect cell and is just all ‘HERP DERPY I A MAKING MAH PROTEINS LALALALA!’  No idea its making a flu protein too!

Those influenza proteins can be purified and loaded into a vaccine!

Tah-dah!!

Anti-vax loop-hole created and destroyed within a 48-hour time-frame.

I think that is a record.

Comments

  1. #1 PythagoreanCrank
    January 18, 2013

    Nice try but the vegan cynics will say:

    1) this still uses Fall Armyworms so NOT VEGAN
    2) GMOs are NOT VEGAN (just cuz)

    whee!

  2. #2 Ethan
    January 18, 2013

    “Now this is what environmentalists should be spending their time on. Finding forms of nature that destroy other forms of nature that are inconvienent to man.” —Hank Hill

    Well done, Abbie. Well done.

  3. #3 jre
    January 18, 2013

    But doesn’t it turn you into a hideous human-fly hybrid?

    help me! help me!

  4. #4 Bryan
    January 18, 2013

    I linked you this yesterday :p

    But Vegans (and antivax ‘tards in general) are probably still going to kill you. They will invent something about GMO =evil = mansanto is the devil….. therefore a flu vaccine from a GMO virus is against their derply held religious beliefs.

  5. #5 Munkhaus
    January 18, 2013

    I suspect the vegans read GMO virus as OMG! virus.

  6. […] The vegans arent going to kill us! Thanks to a GMO virus ;) – erv – from ScienceBlogs » Medicine http://scienceblogs.com […]

  7. #7 Joe Ballenger
    January 19, 2013

    One question I have about this…and this is something I could look up…but how does growing the vaccine in insect cells affect the glycosylation?

    I’d imagine that would change the immunogenicity, and that was the first thing I thought of.

  8. #8 Bob of QF
    January 19, 2013

    Where can I get this? Seriously, I’d go get vaccinated in an instant, if I could get this version.

    I’ll start asking my local WalGreens to start stocking this– they won’t, of course, but if enough people keep asking, maybe they will. Eventually…

    Hope springs eternal. :)

  9. #9 Hayden
    January 19, 2013

    Unfortunately, this doesn’t close the vegan loophole. The vaccine is still made using an animal product, namely insect cells. However, like so many things, veganism exists on a spectrum. I expect fewer vegans will refuse the insect cell line based vaccine.

  10. #10 Imogen
    February 1, 2013

    Er, if vegans getting a vaccine would make them immune, and thus help us, then wouldn’t the only people that would be killed would be people who also didn’t get a vaccine? Sounds hypocritical. Just saying.

    The good news should be that less people will kill *themselves*. If getting vaccines really helps, and I got one, then I’m in the clear, whether vegans get one or not.

  11. […] the virus coding elements. Abbie Smith who blogs at erv, mentioned a vaccine in development named Flublok. Cliff notes version is that influenza genes were inserted into an insect virus which was then […]

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