HHS seeks to bolster flu vaccine effectiveness

March 9, 2011

The federal government wants to make the flu vaccines you give more effective. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently awarded two contracts to support the development of next-generation recombinant influenza vaccine.

The federal government wants to make the flu vaccines you give more effective. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently awarded two contracts to support the development of next-generation recombinant influenza vaccine.

One of the contracts is for developing new technology to produce vaccines using insect cells to express influenza proteins and create virus-like particles that stimulate a strong immune response. The other is to develop a vaccine based on combining influenza and bacteria proteins to stimulate immune response.

The contracts, which total $215 million, are part of a national pandemic vaccine preparedness plan, which also includes finding more domestic manufacturers of vaccine and establishing stockpiles of vaccine.

“The 2009 H1N1 pandemic demonstrated the need for technologies that can provide vaccines more rapidly,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a press release. “These next-generation flu vaccines hold the potential to be even more effective and to make the first and last doses of vaccine available sooner than existing flu vaccines by weeks and months which can save more lives during a pandemic as well as during seasonal flu outbreaks.”