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Synthetic Vaccine Strain May Speed Up Pandemic Response

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Science  17 May 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6134, pp. 797
DOI: 10.1126/science.340.6134.797

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A new influenza strain called H7N9 that has killed 35 people in China and sickened close to a hundred more has raised an important question once again: Can we produce enough vaccine fast enough if this flu virus, or any other one, turns pandemic tomorrow? A group of scientists says we can improve our response and details their method in a paper in this week's issue of Science Translational Medicine ( The paper shows that rather than wait for the arrival of a pandemic virus in their labs, companies can produce a vaccine from its gene sequence as soon as that becomes available online.