Vaccines

Rapid Detection of Pandemics

A Coronavirus — like severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) — is back in the headlines. On returning from a trip to Saudi Arabia in summer 2012, a Qatari national was struck down by a mystery respiratory illness. Because of inadequate diagnostic capabilities, the patient was transferred from Qatar to London for intensive-care treatment and diagnosis. The UK Health Protection Agency (HPA) confirmed infection with the same Coronavirus strain discovered by a Dutch team following the death of a Saudi national…

Carrier Protein Outsourcing

    Vaccines represent a significant, increasing area of product development within the biopharmaceutical industry. The segment includes several blockbuster commercial products, nearly 300 vaccines currently in development, and many more candidates in various stages of research and preclinical development (1). The 2010 worldwide vaccine market was ~US$20 billion and is projected to approach $30 billion by 2015 (2). Conjugate vaccines sales currently exceed $7 billion and are expected to increase substantially. Conjugate vaccines (covalently linked polysaccharide and protein) have…

Production of a Viral-Vectored Vaccine Candidate Against Tuberculosis

    Vaccines are among the most efficacious and cost-effective human health interventions available. They provide protection against a surprisingly broad spectrum of infectious diseases. Notable recent successes protect against human papillomavirus (Cervarix and Gardasil vaccines from GlaxoSmithKline and Merck, respectively) and rotavirus (Rotarix and RotaTeq vaccines from GlaxoSmithKline and Merck, respectively). However, generating reliable sterilizing or therapeutic immunity is still not possible against a number of latent and chronic pathogens that especially affect people in developing countries. Among those…

Large-Scale, Insect-Cell–Based Vaccine Development

    Vaccines are among biotechnological products characterized by continuous growth over the past decade. According to a 2011 report, the global vaccine market is expected to reach US$34 billion in sales by 2013 (1). Much development can be ascribed to vaccine treatments for cancer, autoimmune, and infectious diseases (which have risen significantly) as well as the growing worldwide population and emergence of new pandemics. Although to date the main health impact of vaccines is still in disease prevention, the…

Production of CGMP-Grade Lentiviral Vectors

Lentiviral vectors are important tools for gene transfer because of their ability to transduce a number of cell types without the need for host cells to be dividing (1, 2). As a result, investigators are using them as gene delivery vehicles in clinical applications (3,4,5,6). Although these vectors are used routinely in many research laboratories, large-scale production using current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) methods comes with a set of challenges that must be considered as more clinical trials using lentiviral…

Use of Blast Freezers in Vaccine Manufacture

    Vaccines are powerful and cost effective prophylactic tools for protecting public health. The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI) estimates that ~5.4 million lives are saved each year by the administration of vaccines for hepatitis B, measles, haemophilus influenza type B (hib), pertussis (whooping cough), yellow fever, and polio (1). According to the World Health Organization, seasonal influenza alone claims 250,000–500,000 lives every year globally, many of which could be prevented by more widespread vaccination with the…

Pseudomonas fluorescens Expression Technology for Subunit Vaccine Production and Development

New methods and platforms for rapid development and production of effective subunit vaccines have become a 21st-century imperative. Not only is it important to rapidly express and produce a large number of antigens, but those antigens must be expressed and folded such that their effectiveness in preclinical studies is predictive of their potential effectiveness as vaccines. This task has created a bottleneck in vaccine development because recombinant protein expression is difficult and time-consuming, involving a large number of variables. Highly…

New Technologies to Meet the Challenge of Pandemic Influenza

    In the early spring of 2009, a new strain of H1N1 influenza emerged and swept across the globe more rapidly than vaccine producers could keep pace. By the time the pandemic abated in February 2010, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that between 8,500 and 17,600 Americans had died from H1N1 infection, with a disproportionate number of deaths occurring among healthy children and young adults. An estimated 15–25% of the nation’s population was exposed to the…

Development of a Universal Influenza Vaccine

    Seasonal influenza affects millions of people around the world, with as many as 500,000 deaths annually resulting from influenza-related illnesses. The flu virus undergoes frequent and unpredictable mutations (antigenic drift and shift) that limit the ability of available strain-specific vaccines to protect the population against strains other than those specifically included in a particular season’s flue vaccine. Annual reformulation of the vaccines is needed for annual immunizations. BiondVax Pharmaceuticals Ltd., an Israeli biotechnology company, is developing a universal…

Comparing H1N1 Virus Quantification with a Unique Flow Cytometer and Quantitative PCR

    A novel influenza A (H1N1) virus was discovered in Mexico in early 2009 (1). Infections from this strain led to declaration of a pandemic midyear, with about 61 million patients and 13,000 deaths reported by the US Centers for Disease Control (2). Although the pandemic officially ended in August 2010 (3), vaccines are still in demand to protect people against the H1N1 strain that is now expected to circulate seasonally for years to come. To best respond to…