A CDC spokesman says the agency has received “several reports” that CDC researchers and employees are using a fake virus to promote flu shots.
The CDC says the vaccine-preventable strain was created using a “bioengineered virus” from the laboratory of a company called BioBricks.
It’s the same company that created the “hijacker virus” that caused the recent H1N1 pandemic, according to the CDC.
“The use of a virus from a company in a research facility to promote the flu shot is an unfortunate practice that we have repeatedly flagged and will continue to raise concerns with the CDC,” said Mark Siegel, director of communications for the CDC’s influenza division.
The virus, called HAI-13, is the same strain used to promote influenza shots by the company BioBrick, which has a contract with the federal government.
The agency has also received reports of scientists using HAI 13 to promote vaccine-coated influenza vaccines.
In a statement, the CDC said it’s aware of reports of bioengineered viruses being used to sell influenza vaccines on the internet.
“CDC continues to monitor these emerging and unusual practices, and we are working with our industry partners to identify and address them,” the statement said.