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Research Team Publishes New Methods for Synthetic Generation of Influenza Vaccines
Date:5/15/2013

ns had peaked. Novartis and other vaccine companies have relied on the World Health Organization (WHO) to identify and distribute live reference viruses or viral genes to create seasonal or pandemic vaccines. The 2010 publication of the first synthetic cell constructed by the team at JCVI described new synthetic genomic tools and techniques that were adapted to create flu vaccine viruses.

Since October 2010 Novartis, JCVI and SGI/Synthetic Genomics Vaccines Inc. (SGVI) have been working together through a BARDA-sponsored program to apply synthetic genomics tools and technologies to accelerate the production of the influenza vaccine virus strains required for vaccine manufacturing. The vaccine virus strain is the starter preparation of a virus and is the base from which larger quantities of the vaccine virus can be grown. The goal of this collaboration is to develop a "bank" of synthetically constructed vaccine viruses ready to go into production as soon as WHO identifies the flu strains.  This paper outlines results of some of the first successful outcomes of this collaboration.

The researchers focused on three technological areas--speedy synthesis of DNA cassettes to produce influenza RNA genome segments, improved accuracy of rapid gene synthesis by improving error correction technology, and increased yields of hemagglutinin (HA), which is the essential vaccine antigen.

In the traditional approach to vaccine development, an influenza virus is cultured and grown in chicken eggs. The synthetic genomics approach starts with virus genome sequence data in the computer.

The team then employed synthetic genomics tools to synthesize the two antigens used in vaccine production, HA and neuraminidase (NA). To do this they developed a new cell-free gene assembly method coupled with the improved one step enzymatic error correction method for rapid and accurate gene synthesis. Although gene synthesis is now commonplace, it is still difficult t
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SOURCE Synthetic Genomics Inc.
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