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Attenuating mutations in the influenza virus genome which may increase the safety of vaccine production

Whiteley, A., Trikic, M. Z. and Barclay, W. S. (2004) Attenuating mutations in the influenza virus genome which may increase the safety of vaccine production. In: Kawaoka, Y. (ed.) Options for the Control of Influenza V. International Congress Series, 1263. Elsevier Science, Amsterdam, pp. 687-690. ISBN 9780444516398

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.ics.2004.02.047


Influenza virus epidemics occur on an annual basis and cause severe disease in the very young and old. The vaccine administered to high-risk groups is generated by amplifying reassortant viruses, with chronologically relevant viral surface antigens, in eggs. Every 20 years or so, influenza pandemics occur causing widespread fatality in all age groups. These viruses display novel viral surface antigens acquired from a zoonotic source, and vaccination against them poses new issues since production of large amounts of a respiratory virus containing novel surface antigens could be dangerous for those involved in manufacture. To minimise risks, it is advisable to use a virus whose genetic backbone is highly attenuated in man. Traditionally, the A/PR/8/34 strain of virus is used, however, the genetic basis of its attenuation is unclear. Cold-adapted (CA) strains of the influenza virus are all based on the H2N2 subtype, itself a virus with pandemic potential, and again the genetic basis of temperature sensitivity is not yet established. Reverse genetics technology allows us to engineer designer influenza viruses to order. Using this technology, we have been investigating mutations in several different gene segments to effectively attenuate potential vaccine strains allowing the safe production of vaccine to protect against the next pandemic. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences
ID Code:10645
Uncontrolled Keywords:influenza, pandemic, vaccine, cold adaptation, attenuation, AVIAN INFLUENZA, A VIRUS, REVERSE GENETICS, A/ANN-ARBOR/6/60, CONTRIBUTE, ADAPTATION, H2N2
Publisher:Elsevier Science

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