ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Cranberries May Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
Garlic Yields Up Its Health Secret
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Autumn Sees More Women With Bunion Problems
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
'Snowbirds' Beware the Climate Changes
CANCER
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
Method for Treating Cervical Lesions May Pose Pregnancy Risks
Antioxidants Pose No Melanoma Threat
CAREGIVING
For Dialysis Patients, More Pills = Lower Quality of Life
Falls Are Top Cause of Injury, Death Among Elderly
Transition From Home to Hospital Rarely Seamless
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
DIABETES
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
To Feel Better, Low-Fat Diet May Be Best
Iced Teas Pose High Risk of Kidney Stones
Many Kids Don't Need the Vitamins They're Taking
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Preparing for a Chlorine Gas Disaster
Gas Stove Emissions Boost Asthma in Inner-City Kids
Smog Tougher on the Obese
EYE CARE, VISION
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
Autistic Children Make Limited Eye Contact
Action-Filled Video Games Boost Adult Vision
FITNESS
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
Super Bowl Loss Can 'Kill' Some Fans
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
How Weight Loss Can Help the Heart
Psychiatric Drugs Might Raise Cardiac Death Risk
Omega-3, Some Omega-6 Fatty Acids Boost Cardiovascular Health
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
Coconut Oil May Help Fight Childhood Pneumonia
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
SENIORS
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
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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