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Ann Acad Med Singapore. 2008 Jun;37(6):510-7.

Vaccines for pandemic influenza. The history of our current vaccines, their limitations and the requirements to deal with a pandemic threat.

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Interflu Pty Ltd.


Fears of a potential pandemic due to A(H5N1) viruses have focussed new attention on our current vaccines, their shortcomings, and concerns regarding global vaccine supply in a pandemic. The bulk of current vaccines are inactivated split virus vaccines produced from egg-grown virus and have only modest improvements compared with those first introduced over 60 years ago. Splitting, which was introduced some years ago to reduce reactogenicity, also reduces the immunogenicity of vaccines in immunologically naïve recipients. The A(H5N1) viruses have been found poorly immunogenic and present other challenges for vaccine producers which further exacerbate an already limited global production capacity. There have been some recent improvements in vaccine production methods and improvements to immunogenicity by the development of new adjuvants, however, these still fall short of providing timely supplies of vaccine for all in the face of a pandemic. New approaches to influenza vaccines which might fulfil the demands of a pandemic situation are under evaluation, however, these remain some distance from clinical reality and face significant regulatory hurdles.

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