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Eliminating Dead Eggs in Flu Vaccine Production

Award Information

Department of Health and Human Services
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2005 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
1040 Swabia Court Durham, NC 27703
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2005
Title: Eliminating Dead Eggs in Flu Vaccine Production
Agency: HHS
Contract: 1R43AI063726-01
Award Amount: $102,723.00


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): There is a need for more doses and more rapid production of human flu vaccine from fertile chicken eggs. Numbers of doses can be increased by reducing wastage from dead-egg contamination of vaccine batches and increasing production capacity by automation. Our goal is to develop an automated machine for accurate discrimination of the live from non-live embryonated, Day 14, avian eggs [fertile chicken eggs] that are used in making human flu vaccine. Inclusion of dead eggs in the manufacture of human flu vaccine results in wastage of seed virus, decreased production capacity by innoculating and incubating non-live eggs, and increases the percentage of contaminated lots of harvested virus. Detection of live eggs will be based upon heart rate or embryo movement as sensed by optical methods. Preliminary work with a handheld device has demonstrated the feasibility and accuracy of an infrared-based optical approach. The objectives of this Phase I proposal are to: 1] develop and optimize an automation-friendly detection device for cooled, virus-laden eggs based on a hand held device for detection of heart rate and motion in broiler eggs; 2] design and fabricate a semi-automated machine using six heart rate devices for reliably detecting heart rate and embryo motion at a rate of 2500 eggs/hour; and 3] test and optimize this device and machine to meet desirable commercial flu egg accuracies (less than five live eggs and less than one non-live egg misidentified per thousand eggs and less than a five second detection time). Phase II of the project will entail the development of a high throughput machine such that 200,000-500,000 eggs per day can be processed.

Principal Investigator:

John H. Hebrank

Business Contact:

Small Business Information at Submission:

Embrex, Inc.
Embrex, Inc. 1040 Swabia Ct Durham, NC 27703

EIN/Tax ID: 561469825
Number of Employees: N/A
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No