Developments and current challenges in the process of cell culture-based seasonal influenza vaccine manufacture in Japan

Glob Health Med. 2024 Apr 30;6(2):93-100. doi: 10.35772/ghm.2023.01070.


Seasonal influenza is an acute respiratory infection primarily caused by influenza A and B viruses, which circulate annually and cause substantial morbidity and mortality worldwide. Annual influenza vaccination is currently the most effective measure for preventing influenza and greatly reduces the risk of disease severity and the incidence of complications and death. Annual seasonal influenza vaccines are traditionally produced in Japan and many other countries using viruses propagated in embryonated chicken eggs. However, at present, the effectiveness of the seasonal influenza vaccines has some significant limitations, partly because of egg-adaptive mutations in the antigenic sites of the influenza virus haemagglutinin, which are caused by the continued evolution of seasonal influenza viruses. To overcome the limitations of egg-based influenza vaccine production, a mammalian cell culture-based influenza vaccine production system has been developed in Japan in the past decade as an alternative to the current production method. In this review, I have summarised the progress in the development of cell-based seasonal influenza vaccines and discussed the technological challenges encountered in the development of influenza vaccines.

Keywords: MDCK cell-based influenza vaccine; cell culture techniques; mutation; seasonal influenza candidate vaccine virus; vaccine development.

Publication types

  • Review