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Biologicals. 2009 Jun;37(3):182-9. doi: 10.1016/j.biologicals.2009.02.014. Epub 2009 Mar 17.

FluBlok, a next generation influenza vaccine manufactured in insect cells.

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  • 1Protein Sciences Corporation, Meriden, CT 06450, USA.


FluBlok, a recombinant trivalent hemagglutinin (rHA) vaccine produced in insect cell culture using the baculovirus expression system, provides an attractive alternative to the current egg-based trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV). Its manufacturing process presents the possibility for safe and expeditious vaccine production. FluBlok contains three times more HA than TIV and does not contain egg-protein or preservatives. The high purity of the antigen enables administration at higher doses without a significant increase in side-effects in human subjects. The insect cell-baculovirus production technology is particularly suitable for influenza where annual adjustment of the vaccine is required. The baculovirus-insect expression system is generally considered a safe production system, with limited growth potential for adventitious agents. Still regulators question and challenge the safety of this novel cell substrate as FluBlok continues to advance toward product approval. This review provides an overview of cell substrate characterization for expresSF cell line used for the manufacturing of FluBlok. In addition, this review includes an update on the clinical development of FluBlok. The highly purified protein vaccine, administered at three times higher antigen content than TIV, is well tolerated and results in stronger immunogenicity, a long lasting immune response and provides cross-protection against drift influenza viruses.

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