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Efficient generation of seed virus for production of synthetic influenza vaccines

A synthetic approach for assembling influenza A virus genome segments could improve the efficiency of generating seed virus for vaccine production. A mostly automated, one-step, oligonucleotide-based assembly process with error correction increased the accuracy in genome segment assembly from about 3% to more than 80%. In cells approved for vaccine manufacture, seed virus was recovered from cells transfected with the genome segments and viral backbone elements. In a simulated pandemic setting, the synthetic method yielded seed virus in 4 days and 4 hours, whereas methods used in response to the 2009 influenza pandemic required 36 days. Next steps include automating additional steps of the seed virus-generation process and applying this method to generate RNA vaccines (see Synthetic influenza seeds, page 6).

SciBX 6(21); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.532
Published online May 30, 2013

Patented by Novartis AG, Synthetic Genomics Inc. and MedImmune LLC; available for licensing

Dormitzer, P.R. et al. Sci. Transl. Med.; published online May 15, 2013;
Contact: Philip R. Dormitzer, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics,
Cambridge, Mass.