The global spread of avian flu is putting additional pressure on vaccine developers to rethink their traditional techniques, which rely heavily on eggs to incubate vaccine stocks: The lethality of avian flu in poultry makes it unlikely that there will be 4 billion embryonated eggs available-the number needed to protect the 1.2 billion people at high risk-in the case of a pandemic, according to Suryaprakash Sambhara at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cell culture is emerging as a viable and versatile alternative to eggs for churning out large quantities of vaccine. Last November, President Bush asked Congress for $2.8 billion to develop such technologies, which have been used for decades to manufacture vaccines for well-defined diseases like measles, and while the transition from eggs to culture represents a "considerable investment," vaccine industry leaders like Chiron, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi are now jumping on board, said Richard Webby,...

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