An anonymous reader writes: As the world struggles to produce enough H1N1 vaccine, Technology Review reports on two human trials involving so-called virus-like particles (VLP) vaccines, which promise to be much faster to churn out. VLP vaccines use a protein shells, grown in either plants or insect cells, that look just like real viruses to the body's immune system but that contain no influenza RNA genetic material. A company called Medicago grows its VLPs in transgenic tobacco plants, while another, called Novavax, uses a "immortalized" cells taken from caterpillars. Providing they pass safety regulations both techniques should be able to produce an influenza vaccine more quickly than current methods, using just the DNA of the virus.
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