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Vical Works on a New Kind of Vaccine for Swine Flu

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Aired 5/12/09

A San Diego-based company called Vical is bringing some groundbreaking technology to the effort to stop swine flu. KPBS Reporter Tom Fudge has more.

— A San Diego-based company called Vical is bringing some groundbreaking technology to the effort to stop swine flu. KPBS Reporter Tom Fudge has more.

The global spread of the H1N1 virus brought on a search for a vaccine. And Vical has formed a partnership with the Navy to develop and test one. This medicine would be one of a new generation called DNA vaccines. They're made by genetically engineering a portion of bacterial DNA to mimic the virus. When it's injected into a person, it triggers an immune response. Vical CEO Vijay Samant says DNA vaccines can be made faster than the traditional killed-virus vaccines.

"They take six to nine months to make he stuff, from start to finish. We can make it in six to nine weeks," says Samant.

The Navy has yet to identify funding for the vaccine development. The vaccine would be used to inoculate Navy personnel. Use by the general public would depend on regulatory approval. Tom Fudge, KPBS News.

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