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Building a Better Flu Vaccine--And Giving Chickens a Rest

As vaccine-makers gear up for the winter flu season, one biotech company is reporting success with an alternative method of developing a flu preventative that it says could work more effectively and be produced more quickly than traditional inoculations prepared in fertilized chicken eggs.

This moves Rockville, Md.–based Novavax, Inc., a step closer to submitting its seasonal flu vaccine candidate to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval, and at the same time helping the company move forward with its efforts to develop a vaccine against the H1N1 "swine" flu. The company's vaccine approach in both cases is to use viruslike particles (VLPs) containing surface proteins that make the VLPs resemble a virus, thereby eliciting the proper immune response—even though the VLPs lack the genes needed to replicate themselves.
 
 

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