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

o rapidly and accurately construct large pieces of DNA, large genes and whole genomes. Daniel Gibson , PH.D., and his team at SGI-DNA, along with teams at JCVI, are world leaders in the design and construction of such large gene constructs. It took the team only approximately 10 hours to construct and assemble the synthetic HA- and NA-encoding DNA cassettes ready for transfection into Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells. This method enables the rapid and accurate conversion of digital sequence information to biologically active DNA. This is one of the key differences in synthetically derived vaccines versus traditionally developed vaccines.

The next step developed and described by the team involves rescuing the vaccine virus from the manufacturing cell line. The team employed a novel method of using one cell line for both seed generation and vaccine antigen production. This adds to the efficiency of the new vaccine production and alleviates some of the regulatory and manufacturing complexity.

"As an industry leader in the research, development, manufacture and supply of flu vaccines, Novartis is committed to identifying new ways to speed development of safe and efficacious vaccines to protect patients from seasonal flu and potential pandemics," said Rino Rappuoli, Head, Vaccines Research, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics. "Our research shows the potential power of synthetic vaccine development in addressing emerging public health threats.  By electronically transmitting genetic information rather shipping biological materials, we can begin development of new vaccines more quickly, and ultimately, better protect global health."

This work was made possible in part through a contract from BARDA and funds from the Novartis Foundation. Funding also came from the National Institutes of Health National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

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