ISU researcher develops vaccine for H1N1 flu virus in swine

May 06, 2009

The H1N1 virus has now been found in a Canadian swine herd, and an Iowa State University researcher has developed an H1N1 flu vaccine for pigs.

"Now that H1N1 is in pigs, we're seeking funding to conduct a proof-of-concept study to demonstrate how rapidly we can produce an effective and safe for pigs," said Dr. Hank Harris, professor in animal science and veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine.

Harris' start-up company at the ISU Research Park, Harrisvaccines, Inc., uses a technology that is much faster for producing vaccines than traditional methods.

The technique, called RNA Backbone, was developed for human use by a North Carolina company called Alphavax. Harrisvaccines has adapted it for pigs.

The technique uses electric current to combine the RNA Backbone material with the relevant genetic information from the active flu virus through a process called electro-poration.

Harris notes that his new vaccines using the Backbone method are currently in the pipeline for approval and may have approval from the United States Department of Agriculture by 2011.

Recently, Harris' new, faster method of producing vaccines was put to use during an outbreak of the disease Porcine Reproductive Respiratory Syndrome virus. Harris' Backbone method allowed vaccines to be ready within two months of the outbreak. That research was supported by the United States Department of Agriculture's Small Business Innovation Research Program.

Traditional production methods require five to six months for human vaccines and 11 to 12 months for swine vaccines.

"Right now, to make human or animal vaccines, you have to get the live virus and grow it in eggs or cell culture and then inactivate it," said Harris. "We don't have to do that."

"That's what's really neat about this technology, you don't really need the live virus," he said. "We just need the genes from the original virus which can be made synthetically."

Harris needs only the virus' genetic information, which is easily available. The new H1N1 virus, for instance, has already been genetically mapped and is already available on the Web and in the public domain.

Source: Iowa State University (news : web)

Explore further: Muscular dystrophy: Repair the muscles, not the genetic defect

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Bird flu vaccine protects people and pets

Oct 20, 2008

A single vaccine could be used to protect chickens, cats and humans against deadly flu pandemics, according to an article published in the November issue of the Journal of General Virology. The vaccine protects birds and ma ...

Scientists develop bird flu vaccine

Jan 26, 2006

University of Pittsburgh scientists say they've genetically engineered an avian flu vaccine that has proven 100 percent effective in mice and chickens.

Recommended for you

Cellular protein may be key to longevity

9 hours ago

Researchers have found that levels of a regulatory protein called ATF4, and the corresponding levels of the molecules whose expression it controls, are elevated in the livers of mice exposed to multiple interventions ...

Gut bacteria tire out T cells

11 hours ago

Leaky intestines may cripple bacteria-fighting immune cells in patients with a rare hereditary disease, according to a study by researchers in Lausanne, Switzerland. The study, published in The Journal of Experimental Me ...

T-bet tackles hepatitis

12 hours ago

A single protein may tip the balance between ridding the body of a dangerous virus and enduring life-long chronic infection, according to a report appearing in The Journal of Experimental Medicine.

User comments : 0