The World Health Organization's announcement that it was on the verge of declaring the swine flu a pandemic has spurred scientists worldwide to accelerate their efforts to develop a swine flu vaccine as early as possible.
"It can take five or six months to come up with an entirely novel influenza vaccine. There is a great deal of hope that biotech and pharma companies might be able to have something ready sooner," says John Sterling, the Editor-in-Chief of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN).
Officials at a company called Replikins, which actually predicted over a year ago that significant outbreaks of the H1N1 flu virus would occur within 6-12 months, say that their PanFLu vaccine is ready for clinical trials.
Novavax plans to create a virus-like particle-based (VLP) vaccine against the H1N1 strain, which obviates the need for a live virus seed for manufacturing.
The VLPs contain the proteins that make the virus' outer shell and the surface proteins, without the RNA required for replication.