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 Plus Misc Images Eggs-Vaccine
How the H1N1 vaccine is made… That looks like a pick and place egg machine…

The most striking feature of the H1N1 flu vaccine manufacturing process is the 1,200,000,000 chicken eggs required to make the 3 billion doses of vaccine that may be required worldwide. There are entire chicken farms in the US and around the world dedicated to producing eggs for the purpose of incubating influenza viruses for use in vaccines. No wonder it takes six months from start to finish. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.



  1. Anonymous says:

    Check out the new methods for producing vaccines that companies like Novavax (NVAX) are pioneering. It’s called VLP or virus-like particles. I’m convinced this is the future of vaccine making…

  2. alandove says:

    I’m glad people are starting to pay more attention to vaccine production. There are indeed some very exciting new technologies coming online for this, and it’s about time. It seems odd that the production schedule for a 21st-century drug still relies on the schedules of chicken farmers.

    Shameless plug: if you’d like to hear a few virologists discussing both new and old vaccine production platforms, it’s been a pretty frequent topic on recent episodes of This Week in Virology (

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