A technique to produce swine flu vaccines through insect cells has been perfected by Oz researchers.
The study has appeared in the Biotechnology Journal.
Co-author of the study Florian Krammer from the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Science in Vienna, said: Recent outbreaks of influenza highlight the importance of a rapid and sufficient vaccine supply for pandemic and inter pandemic strains.... However, classical manufacturing methods for vaccines fail to satisfy this demand."
Traditional influenza vaccines are produced in embryonated chicken eggs but the limited supply of eggs may reduced the efficiency of this method in case of a pandemic.
The team's new method turns to insect cell based technology to create recombinant influenza virus-like particles (VLPs), which resemble virus particles but lack the viral nucleic acid, so they are not infectious.
However, using insect cell based technology the Austrian team produced swine-origin pandemic H1N1 influenza virus-like particles (VLPs), for immunological study in mice in just 10 weeks.
Krammera added: "Our work demonstrates that recombinant influenza virus-like particles are a very fast, safe and efficient alternative to conventional influenza vaccines and represents a significant new approach for newly emerging influenza strains like swine-origin H1N1 or H5N1."
Journal editor Professor Alois Jungbauer said: "Virus-like particles will be one solution to tackle the biological variability of influenza pandemics.
"Mutated strains can be quickly engineered. So in this respect the teams' work is an extremely valuable contribution to modern vaccine production."