Following the World Health Organization’s (WHO) declaration of a swine flu pandemic, Children of God for Life, a pro-life group specializing in vaccine information, has announced that several pharmaceutical companies are producing swine flu vaccine using morally and ethically acceptable cell cultures that are not derived from aborted embryos.
Debi Vinnedge, Children of God for Life’s Executive Director, said in a press release that Swiss-based pharmaceutical giant Novartis was the first to create a swine flu vaccine produced in a cell culture using MDCK (Madin-Darby Canine Kidney) cells, rather than fetal tissue.
Vinnedge also revealed that another company, Medimmune, which in 2002 had signed license agreements with Crucell NV for aborted fetal PER C6 cell line for flu vaccine production, would be using ethical methods in developing the swine flu vaccine.
“Medimmune has shifted their focus from PER C6 (a cell line from aborted fetal tissue used for flu vaccine production) for swine flu cell culture,” announced Ms. Vinnedge. “Short term, they will continue using chick embryo as they do in all their regular flu vaccines. Long term, they will use MDCK (Madin-Darby Canine Kidney) for cell culture production.”
MDCK was originally used in the early 1970’s for a moral version of the rubella vaccine. While chick embryo is still an option for manufacturing flu vaccine, cell culture is more desirable since it would speed production time for the vaccines considerably, according to Children of God for Life.
“This is great news for families worldwide,” stated Ms. Vinnedge. “Other companies such as Sanofi Pasteur are using aborted fetal cell line PER C6 as their cell culture. Concerned families who may not have otherwise used the swine flu vaccine will now have a moral choice!”
Children of God for Life’s website notes that other companies are following Novartis and Medimmune’s lead in using moral sources for their cell cultures, with Novavax using insect cell lines, Baxter using Vero cell lines, and Protein Science using caterpillar cell lines.
“There is simply no reason to use aborted fetal cell lines,” Vinnedge pointed out. “We are deeply grateful that Novartis technology is the frontrunner!”
“And it’s high time that some of these other pharmaceutical companies start listening to the public demand,” she said. She also suggested that a note of thanks to Medimmune would help steer the company away from use of aborted fetal tissue in the future.
To contact Medimmune:
Tony Zook, President
One MedImmune Way
Gaithersburg, MD 20878 USA
Phone: (301) 398-0000