How many 'flu-vaccine doses from an egg?

13 December 2009

Question

How many 'flu inoculations can you make from a single egg? Secondly, how do people ensure that the eggs that are used don’t contain the bird flu virus?

Answer

Chris - The answer is that you put the vaccine virus into the egg, which has a chick inside. The chick turns into chicken soup with some 'flu added. You get the 'flu out, purify it and you end up with about three doses per egg. So, if you do some maths, if you want to immunise the entire population of the U.K. with, let's say (for "eggs-ample"), 60 million to make the numbers easy, you would need - just for the U.K. - 20 million laboratory grade chicken's eggs. So a lot is the answer.In terms of egg-safety, the eggs used are laboratory grade eggs. They are high-grade, disease-free, guaranteed to be safe chickens' eggs. And also, the testing that goes on is incredibly rigorous. The eggs are tested, the vaccine progeny is testesd and what comes out is tested to make sure that there's nothing in there that shoudn't be.

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