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Vaccines and Correlates of Protection

Live Attenuated Replication-defective Influenza Vaccine

EC contribution
: € 9 200 000
: 60 months
Starting date
: 01/09/2005
: Integrated Project
: Replication, deficient, vaccine, influenza
Project Number
: LSHB-CT-2005-518281
: www.greenhillsbiotech.com/eu_projects.html


Green Hills Biotechnology is developing a novel vaccine against influenza in a joint project that brings together the expertise of eight different partner institutions both from academia and biotech industry in four European countries and in Russia. The ambitious project is being carried out by the international consortium over a five-year period. The FLUVACC vaccine is a novel component of European systemic efforts to prevent and control influenza, based on a replication deficient virus that is generated by a specialised technique called reverse genetics. The vaccine will be produced in cell culture.


Industrial production of influenza vaccine still relies on traditional techniques. Essentially, chicken eggs are used as mini vaccine factories. They are injected with live influenza virus and incubated for several days so the virus can multiply. The egg is then opened, the virus harvested, purified and inactivated. Unfortunately, highly pathogenic avian viruses do not grow well in eggs as they tend to kill the embryo.

There are many other problems associated with egg-based production. The whole process is time intensive and hard to scale up, so that during a pandemic it may be difficult for supply to meet demand. In addition, the combination of vaccine with egg proteins can lead to allergic reactions in some people.

FLUVACC aims to shift vaccine production away from the traditional methods by generation of live attenuated-replication deficient vaccines that can be produced in cell culture. Instead of using egg-produced viral proteins, the live attenuated vaccines developed by the FLUVACC consortium contain whole replication deficient viruses that generate a strong immune response but are non-pathogenic.

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