With 15 new human cases of H3N2 variant flu confirmed recently, Harrisvaccines is ready to produce a swine vaccine against the strain if necessary.
“We have the ability to produce a swine vaccine for the H3N2 variant strain and are prepared to work with federal officials to make it available should the situation warrant,” says D.L. “Hank” Harris, DVM, Ph.D., founder and president of Harrisvaccines. “Our patented RNA Particle platform allows for rapid vaccine response to situations such as we saw in the 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus and today with the H3N2 variant strain that is crossing from pigs to humans.”
Iowa-based Harrisvaccines has been monitoring genetic shift and drift in swine viruses since the company initially developed a vaccine for swine against pandemic H1N1 in June of 2009. Using Harrisvaccines patented RNA Particle technology, the company is able to make a vaccine within 4 weeks without culturing the live virus like traditional vaccine companies do today.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 29 people have contracted H3N2v virus in the U.S. since July, 2011. Twenty-three of these cases reported swine contact prior to illness onset.
Monitoring of the H3N2v in swine has increased since pigs tested positive for the virus at the Butler CountyFair in Ohio earlier this summer.
“All we need is the gene to make the vaccine,” Harris says. “Using our RNA Particle technology, Harrisvaccines is able to make a vaccine within four weeks, without culturing the live virus as traditional vaccine development processes require.”
Harrisvaccines has pending USDA licensure for the RNA Platform rapid response technology. “Our technology is so advanced that the USDA’s Center for Veterinary Biologics did not have a ‘box’ to put us in,” Harris says. “Now that we have complied with all the necessary testing and paperwork, we are still waiting to be regulated and fully bring this technology to the market.”