An influenza vaccine produced with the use of insect cells appeared safe and produced an immunogenic response in healthy adults, suggesting promise as an alternative to using embryonated eggs for the development of influenza vaccine, according to a preliminary study in the April 11 issue of JAMA.
"All currently licensed influenza vaccines in the
John J. Treanor, MD, of the University of Rochester, N.Y., and colleagues evaluated an experimental influenza vaccine consisting of recombinant HA expressed in insect cells by a recombinant baculovirus (rHA0). The clinical trial was conducted at three
The researchers found, "We have shown that the rHA0 vaccine is well tolerated in healthy adults and immunogenic at both doses evaluated, and we obtained preliminary evidence of protection against influenza infection and disease. The safety data generated in this study are consistent with the safety profile observed in previous studies of rHA0 vaccine. These vaccines have been well tolerated at all doses administered and are associated with low rates of local reactions."
"The use of recombinant DNA techniques to express proteins in cell culture has been a successful approach for generation of highly effective vaccines for the prevention of hepatitis B virus and human papillomavirus. Among the available expression technologies, recombinant baculovirus is especially well suited for production of influenza vaccine because the rapidity with which genes can be cloned and inserted into this vector facilitates updating the vaccine at regular intervals. In addition, the extraordinarily high yields of protein possible in this system provide the opportunity to use much higher and potentially more effective doses of vaccine. Expression of the HA protein in insect cells using recombinant baculovirus also avoids the need to work with potentially pathogenic live influenza viruses and the attendant biocontainment issues that would be a particular concern for generation of pandemic vaccines. The preliminary demonstration of protective efficacy in adults provides further support for the development of this promising approach for prevention of seasonal and pandemic influenza," the authors conclude.
Reference: JAMA. 2007;297:1577-1582.
Source: American Medical Association