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Duke Human Vaccine Institute signs research agreement to develop pandemic virus vaccines
Date:4/14/2011

>The agreement also creates a robust research collaboration between the partners to take vaccine research in new directions. Together, the Duke Human Vaccine Institute and Novartis investigators will tackle both basic and translational vaccine studies.

"The agreement lays the groundwork for creating an ongoing, thriving research collaboration between Duke and Novartis," said Thomas Denny, M.Sc., chief operating officer for the Duke Human Vaccine Institute. "While we all hope we never need to respond to an emergency pandemic threat, there will be no shortage of opportunities to collaborate on vaccine-based research endeavors."

The key facilitators of this agreement include Novartis' new cell-culture vaccine manufacturing facility in Holly Springs, N.C. The cell-culture method provides for a more rapid pandemic response than egg-based vaccines, which take longer to produce and can cause allergic reactions in some people.

Duke's Regional Biocontainment Laboratory one of only 13 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-funded Regional Biocontainment Laboratories in the U.S. is equipped to facilitate the work of isolating and sequencing pandemic strains of influenza and other viruses, evaluating those viruses in pre-clinical models, and ultimately, producing viral seed strains that could form the basis for new vaccine development by Novartis.

"The Regional Biocontainment Laboratory provides high-level containment of pathogens and the specific technologies needed to develop vaccines safely and quickly," said Richard Frothingham, M.D., director of the RBL at Duke. "The public health goal is compelling, because during the H1N1 influenza pandemic the vaccines weren't generally available until the pandemic was in a declining phase. Production of H1N1 vaccines was delayed due to reliance on older (egg-based) technologies, but with this partnership we have the opportunity to deliver new types of vaccines more rapidly."


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Contact: Mary Jane Gore
mary.gore@duke.edu
919-660-1309
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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