Vaccine development and manufacturing

As we have seen throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, genetic vaccines offer several advantages over traditional approaches. For a vaccine to be effective, the components of the disease of interest that provide protection from a disease (an antigen) must be incorporated or present in the candidate and induce a strong and appropriate immune response. 

Transferring liquid formulations into lyophilised products can potentially improve thermal stability and reduce the need for
cold-chain handling.

Viral vaccines can be classified into ‘classic or traditional vaccines’ and include attenuated/killed virus. Recombinant vaccines include subunit, virus-like particle (VLP), conjugate, and viral-vectored vaccines. 

Genetic vaccines include messenger RNA (mRNA)/DNA. Alternatively, vaccines can be classified into live and non-live vaccines, which is important when considering safety profiles.

Once a vaccination has been administered, it triggers the immune response in human cells, which then produce antibodies to fight the virus. However, the body also has to fight the full viral or antigen load, which may cause adverse effects, for example feeling under the weather following the flu vaccine.
 
To modulate the immune response and to increase the duration of the immunisation, the entire vaccination programme may have to be applied in several doses, which can be inconvenient for patients.

Dr. Thomas Becker, Site Quality Director at Recipharm in Wasserburg, spoke in more depth with BioPharm International about vaccine development. You can read the full interview here.