Flu Shot or Bug Shot?

Could this guy have the answer to our flu woes? (courtesy of Pixar)

Some people like the current flu shot, believe it works and get theirs every year; others believe it’s useless and could produce unknown side effects later in life, so they forego their shot each year.

Now it seems a new flu shot could be available soon, only this one isn’t produced from eggs or the influenza virus itself. This shot, which goes by the name Flublok, comes from bugs.

That’s right. Federal regulators just approved Flublok as a new vaccine against the flu virus. To create it, scientists program insect cells grown in tanks to produce hemagglutinin, a flu virus protein, which can help fend off a number of different strains including H1N1 and H3N2. It also makes the vaccine easier and faster to produce, which will help if the flu reaches pandemic levels.

So for those of you who hate the flu shot and would never consider getting it, this is just another reason to stick to your guns. Sure, Flublok may be the solution to our growing flu problem. And it has been effective in treating other infectious diseases. But do you really want insect cells floating around in your bloodstream?

I’m going to have to think about that before that needle sticks me next year, that’s for sure.

Posted on January 17, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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