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Emerg Infect Dis. 2006 Jan;12(1):61-5.

Making better influenza virus vaccines?

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Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029, USA.


Killed and live influenza virus vaccines are effective in preventing and curbing the spread of disease, but new technologies such as reverse genetics could be used to improve them and to shorten the lengthy process of preparing vaccine seed viruses. By taking advantage of these new technologies, we could develop live vaccines that would be safe, cross-protective against variant strains, and require less virus per dose than conventional vaccines. Furthermore, pandemic vaccines against highly virulent strains such as the H5N1 virus can only be generated by reverse genetics techniques. Other technologic breakthroughs should result in effective adjuvants for use with killed and live vaccines, increasing the number of available doses. Finally, universal influenza virus vaccines seem to be within reach. These new strategies will be successful if they are supported by regulatory agencies and if a robust market for influenza virus vaccines against inter-pandemic and pandemic threats is made and sustained.

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