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UK scientists to develop Swine Flu vaccine

Written by: Staff

London, May 4: As the world is getting ready to fight the nearing Pandemic Swine Flu aka H1N1 influenza, researchers from all over the world have stepped up efforts to build a vaccine to fight the scary disease.

British scientists are the latest to join the race. A team from National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC) in Hertfordshire have started their work for developing a vaccine against the H1N1 virus. The researchers aim to drill a hole in hen's egg, which are considered ideal for growing up flu viruses. "They are like virus production factories," the BBC quoted principal scientist Dr John Wood as saying.

The process involves injecting a small amount of virus into each egg.The scientists are using two different techniques for the process. The first one is 'reverse genetics', where scientists take the H and the N surface proteins from the H1N1 virus and mix them with a laboratory virus known as PR8. This leads to a creation of a harmless hybrid virus, which can be used for the vaccine.

The second technique involves injecting both the H1N1 and PR8 viruses into eggs and allowing the hybrid strain to be created through a natural re-assortment of their genes. The vaccine will work by dodging the immune system into thinking it has been infected with the H1N1 swine flu virus so that it creates antibodies against it.

The researchers hope that the first seed strain of H1N1 swine flu vaccine will be ready in three to four weeks. It will then take another four or five months for vaccine manufacturers to produce the vaccine in bulk.


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