Jan 17, 2013, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first influenza vaccine produced with the help of an insect virus and recombinant DNA technology.
FluBlok is made using genetic engineering and is a trivalent (three-strain) vaccine developed by Protein Sciences Corp. of Meriden, Conn., was approved for adults ages 18 through 49.
The only flu virus component it contains is hemagglutinin, the active ingredient, which is produced by infecting cultures of insect cells with a baculovirus that turns them into hemagglutinin factories.
Flublok uses cells taken from the ovaries of fall armyworms in the pupal stage to crank out its active ingredient — a piece of the flu virus’s outer coat.
Just one piece of human flu virus is grafted onto an insect virus and it’s grown in the cells of the fall armyworm, known scientifically as Spodoptera frugiperd.