Flu Shot Gets A Boost From Dispensing With 1940s Technology


Crafting better flu shots comes down to dispensing with 1940s technology, according to CSL Ltd., which says its new method of vaccine production may offer better protection against the virus that killed almost 200 American children last season.

Flucelvax, an immunization produced by CSL’s Seqirus unit with cell-based technology, was 36.2 percent more effective in preventing flu-like illness last winter than conventional shots made using chicken eggs, the Melbourne-based company said in a study released Friday.

Vaccination is recognized as the best way to protect against the respiratory disease, which kills as many as 650,000 people annually. Still, the shot’s effectiveness varies from year to year, depending on the closeness of the match between that season’s circulating viruses and the vaccine, which is usually reformulated annually. While eggs have been used to grow flu viruses to make vaccines for decades, scientists have found that once inside the egg, flu tends to undergo adaptive changes that makes it better suited to chickens, not people. Amplifying vaccine viruses in mammalian cell culture aims to avoid that problem.

“This is a real advance,” said Paul Perreault, CSL’s chief executive officer, in a telephone interview. “Cell-based technologies are showing effectiveness. It tends to give a better match and will help tremendously in the confidence for consumers to go out and get vaccinated.”

The prospect of better protection comes at a higher cost. Seqirus, which is the world’s largest cell-based influenza vaccine producer, said Flucelvax has a list price of $20.47 for a standard 0.5 ml dose — slightly more than egg-based options like Fluzone, Fluarix and FluLaval, whose prices range from $15 to $17, according to Bloomberg data. An alternative egg-free approach from Paris-based Sanofi, called Flublok, uses recombinant proteins to genetically match prevailing strains.

“There’s a slight premium on the cell-based, and should be if it’s more effective,” Perreault said.

Seqirus made 21 million doses using the technology during the 2017-2018 season at a plant in Holly Springs, North Carolina. A process improvement program approved recently by the Food and Drug Administration will enable it to ramp up supply and respond faster in the event of a flu pandemic or vaccine shortages.

“With egg-based vaccines, you need to order more eggs and need more chickens,” Perreault said. “But cells can be generated immediately.”

The company collected electronic medical records from 92,192 people who received a cell-based vaccine and 1,255,983 people who received an egg-based vaccine during the last influenza season between Aug. 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018. The sample population included U.S. patients over the age of 4 who received either form of vaccine in primary care.

The last 2017-2018 Northern American flu season, in which the H3N2 strain dominated, was especially bad, leading to some 900,000 hospitalizations, including 185 pediatric deaths, in the U.S. alone.

Last season’s shot reduced a person’s overall risk of having to seek medical care at a doctor’s office for flu-like illness by 40 percent, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said this month. Effectiveness for the H3N2 strain was 25 percent.

So-called egg-adapted changes to the viruses used in the vaccine might have contributed. That production method was discovered by Nobel prizewinner Frank Macfarlane Burnet in Melbourne in the 1940s and routinely used by vaccine makers since.

(c) 2018, Bloomberg · Riley Ray Griffin 



        • Dear Mig, learn to read your own link “40% and 60% among the overall population”: key word is overall population – which means even including those that don’t vaccinate. Which is as expected: a little less than a half of the US population gets annual flu vaccines, which causes about half reduction in infection and transmission rates, as the vaccinated people don’t get flu, and provide additional few percentage points reduction in transmission rates in the overall population.

      • Many people tried several times to post links pointing to the truth as well as the loads of evidence but this site only approves pro-flu and pro-vax links to be posted. Go through all the measles reports of the last few weeks and you’ll see how this site is very one-sides.

      • Not legal on this site to post anti-flu and anti-vax links as has been tried by many.
        Go through all the measles reports of the last few weeks and you’ll see how this site is very one-sided.

  1. Used to get flu every year, until I started getting a flu vaccine about 10 years ago. Haven’t gotten flu in the last 10 years, and haven’t turned into a zombie vampire witch either. Flu vaccine works.

    • Funny. The flu vaccine is made new every year since the virus mutates twice a year. You didn’t get the flu this past 10 years because either you weren’t exposed or you’re healthy enough to fight it before getting sick, but not because of the vaccine from 10 years ago! I also haven’t gotten the flu these past 10 years, ‘ברוך ה, and I’ve never been vaccinated! Hashem just has רחמנות on us.
      The source for your confusion is what we used to call the flu, and what is now called the flu. The “old” flu is more a very bad cold, or stomach virus, and the “new” flu is more like the Spanish Flu. It used to be rare but over the last decade or two, became very common, and more serious, mutating every six months as it roams the Southern, then Northern, hemispheres.

      • Dear Funny, learn to read before commenting on my previous post: I said that since I started getting an annual flu shot(that means every year) in the past ten years, I haven’t gotten flu, which I used to get every winter like clockwork prior to starting my annual flu vaccinations. Flu vaccine works.

  2. There is a much much lower percentage of people in this country (and also around the world) that believe that vaccines are a hoax/ conspiracy than people who believe the Holocaust is a hoax/conspiracy. You can google Holocaust deniers and see the exact percentages per country and then google anti vaxxers percentages. So if you believe 9/11 was a vast conspiracy, and maybe there is more than the government told us, you should definitely look into the possibility that the Holocaust was a vast Jewish conspiracy and either never happened or was greatly, greatly overexaggerated. There is much proof that the Holocaust deniers can show you and much logic and reasoning that they can offer you.

    • What a dumb comparison. Nobody has ever denied 9/11 saying it was a vast conspiracy. What people are saying is that although about 3,000 people were killed, the buildings did not collapse according to the narrative FakeStream CIA media are trying to shove down you sheeple’s throats. People like you go berzerk with reality and truth and idiotically call it “conspiracy”. That’s because you don’t have the critical thinking skills and are just a programmed zombie trained not to question authority. Prove me wrong.

  3. Not legal on this site to post anti-flu and anti-vax links as has been tried by many.
    Go through all the measles reports of the last few weeks and you’ll see how this site is very one-sided.

  4. At $15 minimum per dose, you can see how there are massive big bucks behind this vaccine pushing scheme. (Not commenting on the issue of whether to vaccinate or not.)
    So, those behind the shots are let’s say slightly biased?
    Dr. Kasriel Roberts, quoted in another article here on Matzav, stated that he thinks that it’s the anti-vaxxers who are motivated by profit. Perhaps he’d like to qualify his remarks given the facts stated in this article?

    • You pay $15 a shot, $10 of which goes to cover the labor, delivery and overhead costs of a doctor or a local pharmacist administering the shot. $5 goes to cover annual flu strain prediction and manufacturing of the vaccine. If anything, private pharmaceutical companies are barely recovering their costs of producing an annual flu vaccine. Pharmaceutical companies make money on super expensive drugs that are for treatment of an existent illness, not on vaccines that are preventative. That’s why it is usually a government that is pushing for vaccines creation. Big Pharma argument is ridiculous.

  5. Interesting.
    This type of flu shot is grown on tumorgenic cells and the FDA admits that it is not known if it causes tumors in humans…

    • Dear 9:22, Your links discuss using tumor cells as a research hava amina. How does it prove that there are cancer cells lurking in your vaccine?! Typical antivaxxer gibberish.

Leave a Reply to Anonymous Cancel reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here