Near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy may facilitate faster and more efficient manufacturing of the flu vaccine.
Much of flu vaccine manufacturing is currently done using poultry eggs. However, this approach – first developed in the 1940s – has a number of drawbacks: the resulting vaccine can’t be used by patients with egg allergies; the lengthy manufacturing time and increased risk of mutations makes it more likely that the resulting vaccine won’t match the strains of flu virus facing the public; it is more susceptible to microbial contamination; and it can’t be manufactured quickly enough to respond to pandemic flu outbreaks.
At most viral concentrations, the NIR spectroscopy was far more accurate than the traditional standard method – as well as much faster. But at the highest concentrations, accuracy suffered – though it was still at least as accurate as the standard method.