Tuesday, February 19, 2013

FDA approves GMO flu vaccine

"A new vaccine for influenza has hit the market, and it is the first ever to contain genetically-modified (GM) proteins derived from insect cells. According to reports, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the vaccine, known as Flublok, which contains recombinant DNA technology and an insect virus known as baculovirus that is purported to help facilitate the more rapid production of vaccines.

According to Flublok's package insert, the vaccine is trivalent, which means it contains GM proteins from three different flu strains. The vaccine's manufacturer, Protein Sciences Corporation (PSC), explains that Flublok is produced by extracting cells from the fall armyworm, a type of caterpillar, and genetically altering them to produce large amounts of hemagglutinin, a flu virus protein that enables the flu virus itself to enter the body quickly.

So rather than have to produce vaccines the "traditional" way using egg cultures, vaccine manufacturers will now have the ability to rapidly produce large batches of flu virus protein using GMOs, which is sure to increase profits for the vaccine industry. But it is also sure to lead to all sorts of serious side effects, including the deadly nerve disease Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GSB), which is listed on the shot as a potential side effect.

FDA also approved flu vaccine containing dog kidney cells
Back in November, the FDA also approved a new flu vaccine known as Flucelvax that is actually made using dog kidney cells. A product of pharmaceutical giant Novartis, Flucelvax also does away with the egg cultures, and can similarly be produced much more rapidly than traditional flu vaccines, which means vaccine companies can have it ready and waiting should the federal government declare a pandemic.

Like Flublok, Flucelvax was made possible because of a $1 billion, taxpayer-funded grant given in 2006 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
in contracts to six manufacturers to develop cell-based flu vaccine technology in the United States. Although its use in flu vaccines is new, cell-based vaccine technology has been around for years, offering a faster, more reliable alternative to egg culture.

In 2009, spurred by difficulties in growing vaccine for the H1N1 swine flu pandemic, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provided Novartis with nearly $500 million to build the first U.S. facility capable of producing cell-based vaccine for seasonal and pandemic flu in the United States. Novartis picked up the rest of the estimated $1 billion price tag."
Source: Reuters

(My cousin's daughter got Guillain-Barre Syndrome as a child from vaccinations required to attend public school. She is now an adult but still has the nerve damage.)

I don't like vaccines much anyway because the carrier is usually mercury, although I've had most of them as a child... and agree they have saved many lives worldwide. Now that at least one (two more are in the wings, nearing FDA approval) is GMO gives me more reason for caution and hesitation.

1 comment:

  1. Another good reason to avoid the flu vaccine.


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