Novavax does not need to wait for a seed virus. They can start work on a vaccine, if they choose, with genetic sequences downloaded from the web. According to this article---------
the info was available 2 weeks ago.
"Webby and others have already started work on an H7N9 vaccine using so-called "reverse
engineering " — starting from the virus's gene sequences, posted by the Chinese on the Internet two weeks ago." Even if NVAX were not commisioned, formally or informally, it would only make sense for them to start, even if it meant taking resources away from other projects. When potentially dire circumstances present themselves, for them not to prepare as quickly as possible would be just about unthinkable. This is exactly the kind of situation that can reveal their potential advantages as a company.
Just to be clear... Wiley, are you saying Fierce Vaccines is wrong? (NVAX/VLP doesn't need a seed virus).
Or... is it just a matter of Semantics here? Not technically a "Virus Seed/Seed Virus" but a "VLP Seed"?
I do appreciate your knowledge & insights... just asking.
This is how NVAX would make a 1000 L H7N9 VLP batch:
Step 1) Use the 100 L (one HUNDRED) GE bioreactor to prepare the seed. The seed that comes out is simply trillions of baculoviruses cloned to carry their own genes plus three extra genes. Two of the extra genes are from the target virus H7N9, namely H7 and N9. The third gene is the base matrix M1 taken from H5N1. NVAX uses M1 of H5N1 as the base matrix for all the VLPs they manufacture (Yes, even for RSV, malaria, rabies, etc.).
Step 2) Get a 1000 L (one THOUSAND) bag from GE, already containing the insect cell medium. Add to the bag the baculovirus from Step 1. Put the bag in the Xcellerex 1000 L bioreactor. The baculovirus infects the insect cells, and the result is a whole lot of H7N9 VLPs.
Step 1 takes about 10 days. Both steps together take about 10-12 weeks.
Step 1 is widely known in the industry as "seed preparation". NVAX always calls it "seed preparation". Everyone calls it "seed preparation". Does this mean Fierce Vaccines made an error? I wouldn't go this far. The writer was simply not concentrating, or something innocent like that. It's just an inaccuracy. I see goofs like this all the time in science publications. Even NVAX patents applications contain a lot of simple errors (like writing B5N1 instead of H5N1).
In 2009, NVAX made the seed for swine flu H1N1 in one week, and the vaccine sample (using the seed) in two weeks. They gave the H1N1 vaccine to the CDC. The CDC tested it on ferrets. The results came out a few weeks later. They were great. All this while the CDC and big pharma were still struggling trying to make a good working seed for egg-based and mammalian cell-based techs.
Email this message to NVAX and to Fierce Vaccines. I assure you they will confirm it to be 100% accurate.
From Fierce Vaccines...
Novavax can produce vaccines sooner than traditional makers, because they don't have to wait for the CDC to create the seed virus. As soon as the genetic sequence for this year's strains are published, Novavax can synthesize the genes and inject them into insect cells without waiting for the seed virus.
"Novavax can synthesize the genes and inject them into insect cells without waiting for the seed virus"
NVAX does this:
1) Create the seed: Synthesize the genes of the target virus (e.g. H7N9), and then graft them into the genes of baculoviruses using cloning techniques.
2) Infect the insect cells with the cloned baculoviruses (i.e. the seed). This gives rise to VLPs.
Thus, NVAX also make seeds, but they make their own. They don't rely on the CDC for this.
To be clear, recombinant/VLP technology companies (including NVAX) must still develop and manufacture a seed before they could begin manufacturing the vaccine. But, the seed is not an obstacle at all, like it is for egg-based and mammalian cell-based techs.
Often NVAX omits mentioning the work on the seed because the step is relatively trivial. But, they do make the seed before the vaccine.
So, as I've been telling this board, NVAX must have already manufactured the seed, using the genetic code published online. This process takes NVAX only about a week. So, preparation for manufacturing the vaccine itself must be underway right now.
I suspect they already have, and you'll see an announcement on Tuesday to coincide with the World Vaccine Expo start. Novavax have a 3 year contract with BARDA (Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority of The Department of Health) for development of vaccines for seasonal influenza and Pandemic Viruses. Just google it.