Medical science question
Posted: 20 December 2007 07:14 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I haven’t done much research on this, much less know where to begin to search for the answer, but my question is one I’ve been wondering for a very long time now.  It’s probably a simple answer too.

Why do they make the flu vaccine from eggs?  Isn’t there a way they can make it so that everyone can have it without any adverse affects?

While my sons can take it, I can’t.  It probably helps me a little because they get the shot, but I’m still exposed to catching it by others who can’t take it or won’t.  Needless to say there are some years I can’t avoid the flu or flu-like symptoms.  There has to be a better way of making the vaccine so that everyone can have it and I understand they are working on it, but for me, it’s just not fast enough.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 20 December 2007 08:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I know they tried. Aventis had an ongoing research project to avoid using egg in influeza vaccine a couple of years ago, but I didn’t hear anything in the last years, so I don’t know if they achieve any good result. I couple of years ago, the test was on preclinical (non human test) stage.

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Posted: 20 December 2007 10:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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there are a nhumber of other possible cells vaccines virus can be grown in. I know there was a green monkey kidney culture version approved in Europe a while back, and I think there are some genetic techniques that might obviate cell culture alltogether. Ultimately, they all have potential risks. I suspect eggs are used primarily because they are plentiful, cheap, and the manufacturers have the most experience with them. There have been concerns about other kinds of cell cultures (especially from primates) because other proteins or viral DNA that could potentially cause disease might exist in these types of cells (since they’re phylogenetically more closely related to humans than chickens). HERE is an interesting article on the question (though I can’t vouch for its technical accuracy).

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Posted: 20 December 2007 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Brennen, I had never thought about this problem because I have little in the way of allergies, however, are you aware of any technique to give the egg generated vaccine to an allergic person and at the same time use some therapy that would eliminate or at least minimize the symptoms of the allergy?

If this was possible and effective, it would seem to be a way to get around the problem of people who are allergic like Mriana.

Occam

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Posted: 20 December 2007 12:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Well, in my patients we premedicate animals with vaccine allergies with benadryl and sometimes steroids, and that seems to block the acute response (Type I hypersensitivity). But as always the differences between species are small, but critical, so I don’t know if there’s a reason why that isn’t done for people. I would guess, and that’s all it is, that the perceived benefit of the vaccine vs the risk of a reactions just isn’t considered to favor vaccination. But there may be other issues involved too.

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Posted: 20 December 2007 07:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Even if the risk is microscopic compared to the benefit of the vaccine, the risk of lawsuit against the ones giving the procedure may be what precludes it. :grin:


Occam

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Posted: 20 December 2007 10:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Brennen, the article seems hopeful for those of us allergic to eggs. The thing is, it doesn’t seem like they are moving fast enough or are going to move much faster anytime soon.  :(

Occam, I don’t know if the risk is microscopic.  I’m also allergic to Penicillian and related drugs. The risk is hardly microscopic or at least I do not consider potential death microscopic.  I lost three days of my life when it was given to me around the age of 7 or 8.  I remember having a rash, laying in a lazyboy feeling miserable while my mother was on the phone talking to someone about me, and then I was out of it.  The next thing I remember is waking up in an unfamiliar place and my mother telling me if I took penicillian again, the doctors said I could die and it was three days later.  That is hardly a microscopic risk not to mention confusing to a little kid as to how medicine the dr gives you could kill you.  I’ve had a medic alert ever since then.  I hated the necklace as a kid, but as an adult, I understand it better and I traded it for a keychain alert which keep on me- esp if I leave home.

I’m not saying the same thing could happen if I took the flu vaccine, but there is a reason why they refuse to give it to us individuals with egg allergies.  IF the potential is that of a Penicillian allergy, then I can understand and if that is the case, they need to come up with something better.  Preferably sooner than later.  The flu or even flu-like symptoms is no fun, esp when you know there is something to prevent it, but your an oddball who can’t take it.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 21 December 2007 06:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Mriana, the average clinical reseach process takes years (five and even more is not uncommon)... fortunately for us };-)  the FDA ignored the fourth adition to the Helsinki consensus, because they would have take even longer.

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Posted: 21 December 2007 04:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Miana, I agree that one would have to check the degree of allergy.  I happen to be allergic to penicillin, too, and I forgot to tell my ENT doctor that many years ago when I had a sinus infection.  Shortly after taking the ampicillin pill I noticed that my hands were itchy, I had red dots on my palms, and my nasal passages were a bit swelled.  I chewed two benedryl tablets, and used some nose spray.  Everything calmed down, and I called my doctor.  After chastising me (one of the joys of being a doctor), he switched me to erythromycin and all was well.  I also have a cat allergy and a cat.  I just don’t nuzzle my face in her fur or let her sleep on my bed.  Again, a mild antihistamine takes care of any occasional effects.  In other words, there are different degrees of allergy.  Mine are minor.  Before trying what I suggested the doctor would have to run tests to determine the degree of allergy, and the response to anti-allergy measures.

I’ve read of methods of desensitizing one to allergins.  I don’t know how effective they are and if they would work for you, but it’s worth asking your doctor. 

Occam

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Posted: 21 December 2007 09:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Ironically, the only thing I’m not allergic to, and to the astonishment to the allergists back in the late ‘70s, is animal dander.  I’m allergic to what they get on them, but not to them.  Um… Yes, I was born into a house with pets and always been around animals, but they didn’t understand/know this in the late ‘70s apparently.  I had allergists looking over the red welps from the tests like I was some odd science experiement.  rolleyes

I’ve had the allergy shots- they didn’t work.  I still have severe allergies and nothing else the drs have tried made my allergies any better either.  I seriously doubt there is anything that desensitizes anyone from allergies.  It’s just a bunch of hype and people are used as geniune pigs for things that are as worthless as homopathy meds and they still have allergies JUST as bad as before.  It’s all bunk and I’m living proof of it.

However, given that experience I seriously doubt that would help for a penicillian allergy, much less for a flu shot made with eggs.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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