Explainer on 293 or HEK cells and their use in COVID vaccines – The Niche

What’s the deal with 293 cells and COVID-19 vaccine production?

There has been a lot of confusion and even misinformation about 293 cells out there related to the pandemic.

Different types of 293 cells have been used in research on COVID-19 vaccines by different manufacturers, but there are no cells in the actual vaccines. Some have gotten that wrong.

Also, 293s are not stem cells and, more specifically, are quite different from human embryonic stem cells. This has also often been an area of confusion.

What about at the ethical or moral level? I personally see no problem in vaccine research and production using 293 or other human cells.

The uncertainty over the origin of the fetus used to make 293 cells leaves things a little fuzzy in that regard, but I’d said it also makes it harder to somehow condemn 293 cells as immoral to use in research, if that’s one’s agenda.