Novartis produces flu vaccine in less than 5 days

Most people recall the Swine Flu epidemic of 2009. What many do not realize is that the vaccine took almost 9 months to develop and manufacture. A new study, published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine shows that this time is being reduced drastically; flu pandemic vaccine manufacturing could begin in days, not months, potentially saving great numbers of lives. The study led by famed San Diego geneticist J. Craig Venter of the J. Craig Venter Institutealong with Rino Rappuoli of Novartis, revealed that they were able to design a vaccine in four days and four hours for a new strain of flu that had appeared in China. The new process is much faster, in part, because researchers can now use the genetic code of a virus to design its vaccine. "To my knowledge, this is the first real-world product from synthetic biology," said Venter.

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