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SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday announced the approval of Novartis' Flucelvax, the first seasonal influenza vaccine licensed in the United States produced using cultured animal cells, instead of fertilized chicken eggs. Flucelvax is approved to prevent seasonal influenza in people ages 18 years and older.
The manufacturing process for Flucelvax is similar to the egg-based production method, but a significant difference is that the virus strains included in the vaccine are grown in animal cells of mammalian origin instead of in eggs. Cell culture technology has already been in use for several decades to produce other U.S. licensed vaccines.
Advantages of cell culture technology include the ability to maintain an adequate supply of readily available, previously tested and characterized cells for use in vaccine production and the potential for a faster start-up of the vaccine manufacturing process in the event of a pandemic.