Sunday, November 29, 2009 How the H1N1 vaccine is made (using 1.2Bn eggs in the process!)

The most striking feature of the H1N1 flu vaccine manufacturing process is the 1,200,000,000 chicken eggs required to make the 3 billion doses of vaccine that may be required worldwide. There are entire chicken farms in the US and around the world dedicated to producing eggs for the purpose of incubating influenza viruses for use in vaccines. No wonder it takes six months from start to finish. But we'll get to that in a minute.

The most commonly used process for manufacturing an influenza vaccine was developed in the 1940s -- one of its co-inventors was Jonas Salk, who would go on to develop the polio vaccine -- and has remained basically unchanged since then. The process is coordinated by the World Health Organization and begins with the detection of a new virus (or rather one that differs significantly from those already going around); in this instance, the Pandemic H1N1/09 virus.

Once the pandemic strain has been identified and isolated, it is mixed with a standard laboratory virus through a technique called genetic reassortment, the purpose of which is to create a hybrid virus (also called the 'reference virus strain') with the pandemic strain's surface antigens and the lab strain's core components (which allows the virus to grow really well in chicken eggs). Then the hybrid is tested to make sure that it grows well, is safe, and produces the proper antigen response. This takes about six to nine weeks.

Read the rest of this article here: How the H1N1 vaccine is made

The Canadian Press: Vaccinations, antiviral supply mean H1N1 no threat to 2010 Olympics

The World Health Organization is sending a representative to monitor for potential disease outbreaks at the 2010 Winter Olympics, but Games officials and health experts say the threat from H1N1 has likely passed.

Most athletes, officials and spectators are expected to be vaccinated against H1N1 by the time the Winter Olympics begin in February.

'If the vaccination rate is high enough, I don't think H1N1 is going to be a risk,' said Dr. Patricia Daly, chief medical health officer for Vancouver Coastal Health, the agency overseeing health services for the Olympics.

Planning for the possible impact H1N1 could have on the Games has been underway since before the WHO declared an official global pandemic in June.

In April, B.C. health officials made a decision to increase the stockpile of antiviral drugs available in the province because of the Games, according to briefing notes released under Access to Information.

How much it cost was censored in the documents, but B.C.'s provincial health officer said in an interview the original supply was boosted by three million doses, bringing the total amount available to 10 million.

Read the rest of this article here:
The Canadian Press: Vaccinations, antiviral supply mean H1N1 no threat to 2010 Olympics Do We Really Need Anti-Viral Kleenex?

Kleenex Anti-Viral Tissue is a moisture-activated facial tissue designed to kill common cold and flu viruses from droplets caught in the tissue, thus protecting the hands from contacting the viruses.

Kleenex states these tissues kill 99.9% of these viruses within 15 minutes. These tissues are 3-ply, with the middle layer containing the anti-viral ingredients, and are easily identified as the Anti-Viral brand by the little blue dots all over the layer. They are standard size tissues, measuring 8.4 X 8.2 inches. I've seen them available in the 120-count rectangular box and the 60-count cubed box.

Active anti-viral ingredients include food-grade Citric Acid and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. Since these ingredients are food-grade, the EPA does not require any warning labels, and the tissues are safe for little ones.

Kleenex also boldly states that these tissues have not been tested against bacteria, fungi, or other viruses.
But do we really need them? Do We Really Need Anti-Viral Kleenex?