|ZOSTAVAX* is a lyophilized preparation of the Oka/Merck strain of live, attenuated varicella-zoster virus (VZV). The virus was initially
obtained from a child with naturally-occurring varicella, then
introduced into human embryonic lung cell cultures, adapted to and
propagated in embryonic guinea pig cell cultures and finally
propagated in human diploid cell cultures (WI-38).Further passage of
the virus was performed at Merck Research Laboratories (MRL) in human
diploid cell cultures (MRC-5). The cells, virus seeds, virus bulks and
bovine serum used in the manufacturing are all tested to provide
assurance that the final product is free of adventitious agents.
ZOSTAVAX, when reconstituted as directed, is a sterile preparation for
subcutaneous administration. Each 0.65-mL dose contains a minimum of
19,400 PFU (plaque-forming units) of Oka/Merck strain of VZV when
reconstituted and stored at room temperature for up to 30 minutes.
Each dose also contains 31.16 mg of sucrose, 15.58 mg of hydrolyzed
porcine gelatin, 3.99 mg of sodium chloride, 0.62 mg of monosodium
L-glutamate, 0.57 mg of sodium phosphate dibasic, 0.10 mg of potassium
phosphate monobasic, 0.10 mg of potassium chloride; residual
components of MRC-5 cells including DNA and protein; and trace
quantities of neomycin and bovine calf serum. The product contains no
Personally, I do not have a problems with the use of such cells, but I think that, if these are the same, it needs to be brought to people's attention, just so they are informed of the use of such as an ingredient.
I find it interesting, too, the mention of residual DNA & protein from those same cells. Could the transfer of human DNA & protein like this be a problem?
Any education from those experts in the chemistry of vaccines is greatly appreciated!