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“The beauty of this technology is speed,” said Vijay B. Samant, president and CEO of San Diego–based Vical, which develops DNA vaccines. “It’s not cell culture. It’s not egg-based. It’s simple fermentation and two purification steps. It does not require the manufacturer to handle the pathogen. All it needs is a gene sequence; that’s good enough for us to make the vaccine.
"DNA vaccines differ fundamentally from conventional virus-based vaccines.
Instead of delivering the viruses themselves in some form, you’re taking a very simple plasmid, which is a circular string of DNA, and you’re putting in a genetic blueprint designed for a specific target, in this case hemagglutinin,” Dr. Kim explained. “Once you inject that into muscle cells or skin cells, it uses our own cellular machinery to manufacture those proteins as antigens, and presents them in a customized way."
"What is Genetic Modification?
With genetic modification, a desirable gene from one organism is inserted into one that does not normally have that gene. This provides the recipient organism with the desired characteristics from that specific gene. For example, a gene from a cold-water fish can be inserted into a vegetable to increase its resistance to cold, thereby extending its growing season. Genetically modifying crops is a technology that is meant to tackle issues such as crop yields, pests and the aesthetics and shelf-life of foods."