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Armyworms Used to Make Flublok Influenza Vaccine

armywormStory Highlights
  • There are three types of approved technologies used to produce flu vaccines in the U.S.
  • The recombinant DNA technology is the most recent type of technology used to produce the quadrivalent influenza vaccine known as Flublok.
  • Flublok is considered by researchers to be “highly pure” because it is manufactured without preservatives, antibiotics, etc.; however, its purity is questionable given that it is produced using insect and armyworm cell proteins.

There are three different influenza vaccine production technologies approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the United States: the egg-based flu vaccine, the cell-based flu vaccine and the most recent recombinant flu vaccine.1 In January 2013, the FDA approved the first influenza vaccine produced with the help of an insect virus and recombinant DNA technology.2

Recombinant DNA technology involves artificially constructing DNA by combining gene sequences from two or more different organisms.3 The FDA claims that this approach assists in speeding up the production of the flu vaccine in the event of a flu pandemic because it does not rely on a chicken egg supply.1

Currently, there is one influenza vaccine produced using recombinant technology that is approved by the FDA, Flublok. In 2013, Flublok, a trivalent (three component) vaccine developed by Protein Sciences Corporation of Meriden, CT, was approved for use in adults between the ages of 18 to 49 years old.4 In 2016, the FDA further approved the quadrivalent (four component) vaccine for use in anyone over the age of 18.4

Flublok: How Is It Made?

Unlike other flu vaccines, Flublok does not use the influenza virus or eggs in its production.5 The vaccine is produced using hemagglutinin (HA), which is the part of the influenza virus that is essential for entry of the virus into cells in the human body.5

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

This production method does not require an egg-grown vaccine virus and does not use chicken eggs at all in the production process. Instead, manufacturers isolate a certain protein from a naturally occurring (“wild type”) recommended vaccine virus (the HA protein, which induces an immune response in people). These proteins are then combined with portions of another virus that grows well in insect cells. This “recombinant” vaccine virus is then mixed with insect cells and allowed to replicate. The flu HA protein is then harvested from these cells and purified. The purified protein is packaged while waiting for FDA testing and approval to release lots.4

One of the advantages of Flublok, as stated on the vaccine’s website, is that it is manufactured using the genetic information derived from the wild-type influenza virus and is not subject to the mutations sometimes introduced into vaccines during the process of egg adaptation. This reduces the possibility of decreased effectiveness due to a mismatch between the wild-type virus and an egg-adapted vaccine.”5

Furthermore, the website states that Flublok is “highly pure” because it is manufactured without eggs, preservatives like thimerosal, latex, formaldehyde, gelatin, antibiotics and a live or inactivated virus.4

Is Flublok Really “Pure”?

On the package insert for the Flublok’s quadrivalent vaccine, it states:

A single 0.5 mL dose of Flublok Quadrivalent contains sodium chloride (4.4 mg), monobasic sodium phosphate (0.195 mcg), dibasic sodium phosphate (1.3 mg), and polysorbate 20 (Tween®20) (27.5 mcg). Each 0.5 mL dose of Flublok Quadrivalent may also contain residual amounts of baculovirus and Spodoptera frugiperda cell proteins (≤ 19 mcg), baculovirus and cellular DNA (≤ 10 ng), and Triton X-100 (≤ 100 mcg)6

What are baculovirus and Spodoptera frugiperda cell proteins?

Baculoviruses are a large group of DNA viruses (pathogens) that infect insects7 and Spodoptera frugiperda are commonly known as armyworms, also regarded as pests.8 So while the vaccine manufacturer and public health agencies boast that Flublok does not contain thimerosal, formaldehyde, antibiotics or other reactive substances, can this vaccine be considered pure given that insect viruses and armyworm cell proteins are used as ingredients?

In 2009, NVIC President Barbara Loe Fisher offered public comment at the FDA Vaccines and Biological Products Advisory Committee meeting, where the development of influenza vaccines using armyworms was discussed. She said:

In the current effort to fast track the use of a new technology which clones hemagglutinin genes from three influenza viruses—which may be of human as well as mammal and bird origin—and splice them into baculoviruses, which are then used to infect caterpillar cells to produce the hemagglutinin contained in the new recombinant protein based influenza vaccine, there is always the possibility that adventitious agents contaminating insect cells could end up in the vaccines. In fact, a 2005 World Health Organization document on regulation of candidate human vaccines states that “Most insect cells may have viruses in them and infection can be hard to detect and difficult to eliminate…steps should be taken to eliminate them.9

Fisher also pointed out that the small clinical trials of insect cell based influenza vaccines were too small to detect the ability of the insect-based recombinant protein influenza vaccines to cause immune mediated brain and immune system problems. She said:

FluBlok contains three times as much protein as other influenza vaccines. There is always the potential for increased cross-reactive autoimmune responses in individuals who are genetically predisposed to autoimmunity and immune mediated neurological dysfunction. I am thinking of the Bell’s Palsy case in these trials that may or may not have been triggered or exacerbated by FluBlok vaccination. The relatively small numbers of individuals in these clinical trials may not reveal the rarer but very serious complications involving demyelination of the brain and autoimmune disorders that have been reported following receipt of recombinant protein vaccines such as hepatitis B and HPV vaccines, including GBS, CNS vasculitis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis.9

The fact that the Flublok manufacturer package insert acknowledges insect virus and DNA adventitious agent contamination is revealing. Substituting toxic vaccine ingredients with other potentially toxic ingredients does not vaccines safer. Flublok is not a “pure” vaccine and only time will tell what the real risks are to human health from its widespread use.


1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How Influenza (Flu) Vaccines Are Made. National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Nov. 7, 2016.
2 Roos R. FDA approves first flu vaccine grown in insect cells. Center for Infectious Disease and Policy Jan. 17, 2013.
3 Smith Y. What is Recombinant DNA? News Medical May 4, 2015.
4 CDC. Flublok Seasonal Influenza (Flu) VaccineNational Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Dec. 13, 2016.
5 Protein Sciences Corporation. A Pharmacist’s Guide to the Flublok Influenza Vaccine. Flublok.com 2015.
6 Food and Drug Administration. Protein Sciences Corporation Package Insert Flublok Quadrivalent. FDA.gov Mar. 2017.
7 Clem R, Passarelli L. Baculoviruses: Sophisticated Pathogens of Insects. PLOS Pathogens 2013; 9(11).
8 Fall Armyworm. Wikipedia.
9 Fisher BL. Public Comment on Use of Insect Cells for Influenza Vaccine Production. FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee Nov. 19, 2009.

18 Responses to Armyworms Used to Make Flublok Influenza Vaccine

  1. Joe Reply

    October 11, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    Ignore any and all claims. Read the inserts.

  2. Patricia Regalia DHHP, HD(Rhom) Reply

    October 2, 2017 at 11:52 am

    If you feel you have had a reaction to a vaccine or your child. Please contact to discuss a very safe way to remove the shot/shock with homeopathic isodes. Homeopathic medicine does provide a safe alternative to vaccines with Nosodes also.


    • Sheldon101 Reply

      October 17, 2017 at 9:55 pm

      Save your money. Just use tap water or bottled water or a small amount of potable alcohol. The effects will be the same as anything homeopathic. Of all the quack ideas, including what is written here, homeopathy is at least 10C harder to believe and has 10C less proof that it is effective.

      • Erwin Alber Reply

        November 21, 2017 at 4:52 am

        As the saying goes, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating.” I have successfully used homeopathy to get rid of shingles on my face. It disappeared in two days. Impressed, I called a friend who I knew was suffering from long-standing, severe and painful shingles around his waist in spite of using antiviral drugs. He joyfully told me that he had got rid of the shingles thanks to homeopathy. So please don’t knock things you know nothing about.

  3. A Yiacas Reply

    October 2, 2017 at 4:42 am

    As a healthcare employee, I am required to get the flu shot or lose my job. I have opted to get this Flublok shot as it has the least amt of preservative, etc. in it. Is this choice worse?? What are we supposed to do when we are forced to get the flu shot against our will. It seems that there is no good choice. It makes me want to choose a new profession.

    • EA Reply

      October 18, 2017 at 5:40 pm

      There is no such thing as a safe vaccine. They are all “unavoidably unsafe.” If vaccination violates your religious beliefs, they can not force you to do it. They also cannot legally fire you for your religious beliefs. I want the nurse who will advocate for her/himself and say no to coerced vaccination because I know that nurse understands medical autonomy, the right to informed consent and the right to refuse treatment.

      • Susan Collier Reply

        November 4, 2017 at 5:02 am

        Contact a vaccine rights attorney and learn how to write your religious exemption. I used Alan Phillips. He has a very informative website.

  4. bob Reply

    October 2, 2017 at 4:39 am

    I’ll take my chances with the flu, thanks.

  5. Monica Reply

    October 1, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    I am a nurse and have most years “worn the mask”. I know the dangers of vaccines and only grudgingly took one last year as I was really being pressured. My hospital gave me a preservstive free shot last year and surprisingly I did not get sick. This year I’m at a new hospital and the mask is from entry to exit, I can’t do that for 12 to 13 hours. this hospital only had the multi dose flu shots. I sought out a thimerisil free preservative free vaccine and found flubloks site. I found a place that had it in ca and went down and got it. The ad made it sound so pure and “green”. Within 24 hours my arm ached so bad and then I felt itching down in the muscle. My throat was sore my ears blocked and my head ached. I have no doubt it was the vaccine. Within 3 days I had a low grade fever and cough. 3 weeks later and I have trouble swallowing and a loose cough. I also had stomach issues after about a week and a half. I am hoping I don’t have long term effects from this shot. When I got sick I looked it up and found the info regarding insects. I can’t believe I sought out this awful vaccine and let illness and foreign DNA be injected right into me. I am seriously thinking of leaving nursing due to this crazy policy of getting s vaccine that year after year has a dismal efficacy rate and makes people sick and who knows the long term effects?

    • Sheldon101 Reply

      October 17, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      How do you know your problems were caused by the vaccine? You don’t.

      The same issue if the case if a doctor prescribes an antibiotic and you get better. Did the antibiotic result in you getting better? You really don’t know.

      However, we know that overall, if you give people an appropriate anti-biotic, they will tend to get better.

      The same is true of flu vaccines, they make it less likely you will get influenza. There is just a tiny, tiny, tiny chance that the flu vaccine will cause problems beyond local reactions at the site of the shot. The chance is so small that the chances of you getting your problems from the vaccine are practically zero. Of course, your beliefs make it much more likely that you will have the symptoms and you will blame the vaccine.

      • Susan Collier Reply

        November 4, 2017 at 5:10 am

        Perhaps you should take a moment and look up the VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) statistics to see the amount of money awarded to individuals who were injured by the influenza vaccine. Vaccine injuries are real and dismally under reported.

      • Erwin Alber Reply

        November 21, 2017 at 5:18 am

        How do you know why your thumb hurts after hitting it with a hammer? How do you know what caused your sudden onset of violent diarrhea after eating seafood? How do you know what caused your allergic reaction after taking an antibiotic? It’s like figuring out that 2 + 2 equals 4.

        I wouldn’t give a flu shot or any other vaccine to a dog, let alone get one for myself, or give one to a child of mine because I don’t fancy being poisoned by the medical-pharmaceutical mafia or having my DNA mixed up with the DNA of army worms, chick embryos or the DNA from an aborted human foetus.


    • Maria Reply

      October 18, 2017 at 1:30 pm

      High dose Vit C prior to and after injection of vaccine helps prevent side effects. There is evidence that vaccine reactions are due to low Vit C. High dose means till bowel tolerance, ie gassy or other reaction. This will probably change after the injection and your need will escalate. Ascorbic acid, I buy bulk and put in size 00 capsules.

  6. Rhonda Reply

    October 1, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    I became very ill after taking my first flu vaccine when I was in the military back in the 80s and I have refused it since. I am a registered nurse and they are making it harder and harder for us to decline the vaccine and continue to work. I gave in and had allergy testing done with the flu block because they said that it would be safer for me because they felt that the reaction I had had in the past was to additives such as preservatives and that this one did not have them. I again had a reaction. I started having bronchospasms approximately 15 minutes after the first injection they had to give me 180 mg of Allegra so that they would be able to finish the testing and give me my full dose. I had a delayed skin reaction and the red raised area did not go away until about 4 weeks out and I still have a dark spot of scarring from the injection. They tell me that I have to get the shot because I have to do no harm. What about the harm that is forced on me do I not have any rights because I choose to be a healthcare worker?

    • Susan Collier Reply

      November 4, 2017 at 5:06 am

      Contact a vaccine rights attorney and learn how to write a religious exemption. See Alan Phillips web site for great information.

  7. Mike Reply

    October 1, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    “…the vaccine manufacturer and public health agencies boast that Flublok does not contain thimerosal, formaldehyde, antibiotics or other reactive substances…”

    Why are they boasting about this? Is this telling us that they are admitting something negative about thimerosal, formaldehyde, antibiotics and other reactive substances?

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