By Marlowe Hood
PARIS — Flu vaccines made from lab-grown cells work at least as well as those derived from viruses cultivated in chicken eggs, the preferred method for 50 years, according to a study released Wednesday.
The findings, reported in The Lancet, could help speed approval for the new technique in the United States, which has recently said healthy adults should also be inoculated against seasonal influenza.
Cell-based flu vaccines have major advantages over the traditional manufacturing process, including unlimited supply, a shorter production time, and an alternative for persons allergic to eggs.
They may also be better suited for developing a shield against the potential pandemic threat of a deadly H5N1 bird flu mutation.
But their effectiveness had yet to be fully tested in a large-scale clinical trial, according to the authors.