America's Vaccine Safety Watchdog
VIC Home & Learning Center
Human Protein & DNA
 

Which vaccines contain human protein and DNA?


The information in this table is drawn from vaccine package inserts downloaded from the FDA website.  The Vaccine Ingredients Calculator, following the lead of the package inserts, treats each source of human protein and DNA as a distinct ingredient.

A recent CBS News Investigates article quotes a former senior scientist at a pharmaceutical firm who claims that human tissue is currently used in 23 vaccines; however, we adhere strictly to the vaccine package inserts from the FDA as our ingredient data source and cannot confirm nor deny this claim.

Where did the human protein and DNA come from?

There are three main sources of human protein in vaccines: (1) fetal cell lines, (2) human albumin derived from human blood and (3) human albumin genetically engineered from yeast. 

The human DNA in vaccines comes from the MRC-5 fetal cell line (see below).

Human Protein from Fetal Cell Lines
  • The MRC-5 cell line was developed in September 1966 from lung tissue taken from a 14 week fetus aborted for psychiatric reasons from a 27 year old physically healthy woman.
  • The rubella vaccine currently used in the U.S. and in most countries was developed after an American researcher at the Wistar Institute cultured rubella virus from a fetus aborted because the mother was infected with rubella. This vaccine is called RA 27/3 because the rubella virus was isolated from the 27th aborted fetus sent to the Wistar Institute in the 1964 rubella outbreak.  For more information, scroll down to Rubella Vaccine Derived From Aborted Fetus Fuels Controversy.

  • This article, while incomplete regarding the sources of human protein/DNA and the vaccines in which they are found, attempts to explain why some vaccines are grown in cell cultures that were originally obtained from human fetuses.
Genetically Engineered Human Albumin
  • Currently (as of April 2011), only the MMR vaccine contains genetically engineered human protein, which is produced under the brand name Recombumin and referred to as "recombinant human albumin" in the package insert. 
Human albumin derived from human blood
  • The package inserts do not contain any information about where the human blood is sourced from.

  • The National Hemophilia Foundation is a good source of information about blood supply and product safety