ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
Acupuncture May Help Restore Lost Sense of Smell
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
A Winning Strategy to Beat Spring Sporting Injuries
B Cells Can Act Alone in Autoimmune Diseases
Fruits and Veggies May Strengthen Bones
CANCER
Healthy Behaviors Slow Functional Decline After Cancer
Smokeout '08: The Perfect Time to Quit
Seaweed May Help Treat Lymphoma
CAREGIVING
Coordination Has Led to Quicker Heart Treatment
Few Hospitals Embracing Electronic Health Record Systems
Late-Life Fatherhood May Lower Child's Intelligence
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Health Tip: After Liposuction
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Holistic Dentistry-My View
DIABETES
Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
DIET, NUTRITION
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
HELP TO LOSE WEIGHT ON A LOW CAL BUDGET
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Golf Course Insecticides Pose Little Danger to Players
As Earth Warms, Lyme Disease Could Flourish
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
EYE CARE, VISION
Diabetic Hispanics Missing Out on Eye Exams
Drinking Green Tea May Protect Eyes
Protein Might One Day Prevent Blindness
FITNESS
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Exercise Guards White Blood Cells Against Aging
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
Eat Light - Live Longer
Toxins May Form When Skin, Indoor Ozone Meet
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
Vitamin B3 May Help Repair Brain After a Stroke
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
SENIORS
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
Add your Article

New Methods Could Speed Production of Flu Vaccines

MONDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) -- Vaccines made up of virus-like particles (VLPs) could provide stronger and longer-lasting protection against flu viruses than conventional vaccines, researchers say.

Even better, VLP vaccines, which can be grown in cell cultures or plants, can be developed and produced twice as quickly as conventional vaccines, according to research presented May 18 at the 109th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, in Philadelphia.

In early clinical trials, VLP vaccines appear to provide complete protection against both the H5N1 avian influenza virus and the 1918 Spanish influenza virus, said Ted Ross, an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Vaccine Research.

Adopting the new vaccine strategy may allow public health officials to respond more quickly to emerging influenza pandemics, according to a news release from the American Society for Microbiology.

"The sequence for the recent H1N1 'swine flu' virus was online and available to scientists long before physical samples could be delivered," Ross said in the news release. "It would have been possible to produce VLPs in quantity in as little as 12 weeks, while conventional vaccines require physical samples of the virus, and production can take approximately nine months."

Even without an actual sample of the agent, researchers can generate particles for a vaccine if the genes in the virus have been identified, Ross added.

Injectable vaccines that are currently in use to protect from the seasonal flu consist of three influenza strains that are grown in eggs and then inactivated using chemicals that break the virus up into pieces, according to background information provided in the news release. But because the pieces no longer look like the circulating virus, conventionally produced vaccines do not elicit as strong an immune response as VLPs.

"Virus-like particles look just like a live virus, but they are hollow shells without a genome inside, and they cannot reproduce," Ross said. "Because they look like the virus, they evoke a more robust immune response against the real thing."

Inhaled, mist-based flu vaccines can also elicit a strong immune response, but they are associated with an increased risk of side effects, because they are made with live, attenuated virus, the release noted.

Still, there is disagreement over who should be vaccinated and for what flu viruses, Ross said.

"There is a debate in the influenza community about priming the human population for potential pandemic strains such as H5N1 or 1918," Ross said. "Some researchers advocate adding these strains to the annual flu vaccine. They might not match the next pandemic flu strain exactly, but could provide some protection."

Others contend that it's premature and too costly to vaccinate people against a virus that may never emerge, he said.

More information

The CDC has more on flu vaccines.



-- Jennifer Thomas



SOURCE: American Society for Microbiology, news release, May 18, 2009

Last Updated: May 18, 2009

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