This week’s pop quiz involves analysis of an AFP news article entitled “US company makes first batch of swine flu vaccine“. The article reports that Protein Sciences has been awarded a contract from the US Department of Health and Human Services to produce a vaccine by synthesizing the viral HA protein in insect cells. Here are two paragraphs from the article:
They warned that the virus could mutate during the southern hemisphere’s flu season before returning north in a more lethal form in autumn, in a pattern similar to that seen in the deadly 1918 flu pandemic, which claimed an estimated 20 to 50 million lives around the globe.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) sent us a dead virus, which is perfectly safe, and then we extracted genetic information from that virus.
What is wrong with these statements? Post your answers in the comments section.
For extra credit, critique this statement from the same article:
Protein Sciences’ technology is also safer “because these caterpillars don’t have any association with man or other animals, so there’s no chance for their cells to learn how to propagate human viruses,” Adams told AFP.