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flu vaccineThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved the first GMO flu vaccine to be released into the marketplace.  It will be marketed as Flublok and it contains genetically-modified (GM) proteins that come from insect cells (armyworm, a type of caterpillar).  Flublok contains GM proteins from three different flu strains (Benson, 2013).

While the manufacturers were doing their clinical trials on Flublok, several individuals died but the company still says the vaccine is 45% safe and effective against all strains of influenza (Benson, 2013).  There was no mention as to how many clinical trials have been performed or how many participants were in each group.  The packaging will also carry a warning for individuals who may be at risk of contracting Guillain-Barré Syndrome.  Other side effects of Flublok include:  allergic reactions, respiratory infections, headaches, fatigue, rhinorrhea, myalgia and altered immunocompetence.

There are two other GM flu vaccines on the horizon, Flucelvax and Novartis.  Flublok and Flucelvax vaccines are made possible by a $1 billion, taxpayer-funded grant given by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services back in 2006.  Flucelvax will be made from dog kidney cells and Novartis will be made from bits of genetic material grown in caterpillar cells.  These new methods are being used because the vaccines can be produced more rapidly and companies can have it ready and waiting in the case of a pandemic.

A universal vaccine is also being explored so that flu vaccines may only need to be given every 5-10 years instead of annually.  Eight-ten years of more testing is needed before a universal vaccine is ready (Steenhuysen, 2013).

I would like to hear your comments on GMO flu vaccines.

To read more on this topic, click on the following links:

Benson, J. (2013). Zee-Haven, “FDA Approves First GMO Flu Vaccine Containing Reprogrammed Insect Virus”.  Retrieved June 12, 2013, from: http://zen-haven.com/fda-approves-first-gmo-flu-vaccine-containing-reprogrammed-insect-virus/

Benson, J. (2013). Natural News, “FDA Approves First GMO Flu Vaccine Containing Reprogrammed Insect Virus”.  Retrieved June 12, 2013, from: http://www.naturalnews.com/039013_flu_vaccine_insect_virus_GMOs.html#ixzz2KQolcu6t

Mercola, Dr. (2013). Health Impact News Daily, “Lab developing long-lasting flu shot”. Retrieved June 12, 2013, from: http://healthimpactnews.com/2013/first-genetically-engineered-flu-vaccine-now-on-the-market

Steenhuysen, J. (2013). Reuters, “Insight: U.S. government investment gives flu vaccines a shot in the arm”. Retrieved June 12, 2013, from:  http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/19/us-flu-vaccines-idUSBRE90I0AI20130119