Vaccines

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…

DNA Vaccine Technology

    Picture rows and rows of chicken eggs incubating not to hatch chickens, but to produce vaccines. With the exception of a few products on the market now, most vaccines are still made using this 50-year-old technology. Using chicken eggs to produce vaccines takes about half a year to complete and requires on average one to two eggs to make a single vaccine dose. It is inefficient, labor intensive, time consuming, and subject to contamination. The latter may be…

Electroporation-Enhanced Delivery of DNA Vaccines

    Vaccines represent one of the most important medical developments in human history. As recently as a century ago, infectious diseases were the main cause of death worldwide, even in the most developed countries. For instance, the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 killed more people than all the bullets and bombs did during World War I (1). Today, a vast range of vaccines are available to protect against more than two dozen infectious diseases, especially in pediatrics. Our society…

A Convergence of New Products and Technologies Changes the Game

    Vaccine makers are leading the way — that’s something you don’t hear every day. For many years, vaccines were seen as “old-school” and less profitable than other biologic products — and they were the business of just a few huge companies. But thanks to recombinant technology, it’s a real Cinderella story: Advancing technologies led to what’s being called the “vaccine renaissance.” And now, vaccine companies may have something to teach their biopharmaceutical brethren. In April 2004, BPI may…

Using Disposables in Cell-Culture–Based Vaccine Production

    A recent private grant of US$10 billion for human vaccine applications illustrates the revival of interest in vaccine science (1). The 2009 response by vaccine manufacturers to the H1N1 pandemic revealed the convergence of three technological developments. First is a revolution in technology: Vaccines are being developed for diverse and unprecedented applications through a number of entirely new approaches. Second is the recent adoption of cultured cell-based production for a growing number of vaccines, such as influenza. And…

Rapid Assessment of Vaccine Potency

The global vaccine market is growing annually by 16% and is expected to reach $21 billion by 2010 (1). Much of the predicted growth of this market is expected to come from the introduction of new vaccines, either against diseases for which no vaccine currently exists or as second-generation products to replace existing ones. Much research is still centered on developing vaccines to prevent infectious diseases caused by microbial and viral pathogens. This segment is being fueled by a number…

Production of Recombinant Whole-Cell Vaccines with Disposable Manufacturing Systems

Live whole-cell bacterial products have been used as vaccines for many years, and there are currently three such products licensed on the market. Over recent years, however, interest has renewed in this type of product as a delivery system for novel recombinant therapies and vaccines. A number of different organisms have been proposed, such as Escherichia coli and Salmonella species, which might have applicability for such applications. Vaccine applications tend to relate to the potential for low-cost orally delivered products…

Novel Vaccines and Virology

Vaccines have been around a long time — longer than any other biologic medical products. Since the 1700s, when a British doctor inoculated people against smallpox using Variolae vaccinae (cowpox virus), we’ve referred to such immunizing treatments as “vaccines.” Most children in developed countries grow up knowing there will be occasional “vaccinations,” usually injections, required to get into school and stay there (which may or may not seem like a great thing, depending on who you talk to). Similarly, people…