EDITORIAL

Can we beat influenza?

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Science  14 Jul 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6347, pp. 111
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan7961

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  • Influenza Response System: possible measures to improve the model
    • Carlos Polanco, Postdoctoral Researcher, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

    To the editor:

    Influenza Response System: possible measures to improve the model

    The interesting editorial by Zhang & Webster (1) [Can we beat influenza?, Science], describes the circumstances and challenges of the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS), coordinated by the World Health Organization.
    In my opinion, one of the possible and effective options to decrease the impact of an influenza outbreak, is to improve the predictive ability of the GISRS system for early warning; and thereby decrease the spread of an outbreak. One option would be to develop nano devices capable of identifying and transmitting biometric data strongly associated with the etiology of disease. These devices would allow the learning about the time/space distribution of this epidemic process, strengthening the accuracy of early warnings, and decreasing the effect produced by the spread of the disease. Nanotechnology is an emergent and important discipline that we should focus on this issue.

    Sincerely yours,
    Carlos Polanco, Ph.D., D.Sc.
    Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México City, México.

    Carlos Polanco is an Associate Professor at the Department of Mathematics in the
    Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México city, México (polanco@unam.mx).

    References
    1. Zhang W, Webster RG. Can we beat influenza? Science (2017) 357:111. DOI: 10.1126/science.aan7961.

    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: Vaccines with rapid trunaround are the need of the hour
    • Parvaiz A Koul, Physician, SheriKashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Srinagar, J&K, India

    One of the greatest challenges of the availability of adequate supply of flu vaccines is the time required for the development of the vaccines. This often results in a poor match of the vaccine with the circulating strains of the influenza virus and does not account for the minor antigenic drifts that result in reduced efficacy of the vaccines. The usual egg-based manufacturing process for influenza vaccine production can take up to six months. In 2012, the US FDA approved the first trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine manufactured using cell culture technology for use in people 18 years and older. In 2016 the FDA approved a quadrivalent inactivated formulation for use in people 4 years and older and in late 2016, the FDA approved the use of cell-based candidate vaccine viruses for use in the production of cell based vaccines.
    Influenza viruses used in manufacture of cell based vaccines are isolated and grown in cultured cells of mammalian origin (Madin-Darby Canine Kidney cell line) instead of the hens’ eggs. The change in using cell cultures instead of eggs for production of vaccines with rapid turnaround time allows people with egg allergies to receive protection from influenza and represents the first major change in the development in influenza vaccine manufacturing technology since vaccine production began in the 1930s. A new option for manufacturing influenza vaccines could come from using tobacco leaves which may allow production of the vaccine in as l...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: Beating influenza
    • Silvio Pitlik, Physician, Visiting Scientist, Weizmann Institute of Science
    • Other Contributors:
      • Omry Koren, Principal Investigator, Faculty of Medicine, Sefad, Bar Ilan University

    Accumulating emerging evidence suggests that the human microbiota has a role in determining both the severity of illness and the efficacy of anti-flu vaccination (Microbiome 2017 Jun 24;5(1):64).

    Competing Interests: None declared.