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Scientists in the UK took a “crucial step” in the fight against swine flu by producing a strain of the virus suitable for vaccination, health official have announced.
The scientists have been developing the strain at the Health Protection Agency’s (HPA) National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC), based close to Potters Bar, Hertfordshire.
A hybrid between the H1N1 swine flu virus and a tested laboratory strain was created using a method known as reverse genetics. The created strain will now be made available to other flu laboratories and drugs manufacturers around the world.
The NIBSC, as well as scientists in the USA and Australia, are part of a group of international laboratories in a World Health Organisation (WHO) initiative looking to find a vaccine against the disease.
“Our scientists have been working round the clock to develop a vaccine candidate since we received the first swine-flu isolate from the USA at the beginning of May, and I am delighted that they have been successful so quickly,” said NIBSC director Dr Stephen Inglis.
Copyright Press Association 2009