Researchers at Brigham Young University have created a system that is designed to speed up the process of making life-saving vaccines for new viruses. According to Science Daily, their concept is to create the biological machinery for vaccine production en masse, put it in a freeze-dried state and stockpile it around the country. Subsequently, when a new virus hits, labs can simply add water to a ‘kit’ to rapidly produce the needed vaccine. Senior author of the study Brad Bundy says, “You could just pull it off the shelf and make it. We could make the vaccine and be ready for distribution in a day.”
The Science Daily news report notes that this research demonstrates the ability to store the drug and vaccine-making machinery for more than a year. Bundy’s concept is a new angle on the emerging method of ‘cell-free protein synthesis,’ which is a process that combines DNA to make proteins needed for drugs. Bundy’s lab is developing a system where the majority of the work is done beforehand so vaccine kits can be ready to go and be activated at the drop of a dime. The team is currently testing their version of the recombinant DNA process, but has already successfully demonstrated it for at least one anti-cancer protein.
The Science Daily news report indicates that the research team believes their method can notably reduce investment of time and money towards future drug production and, in turn, reduce treatment expenses for patients. William Pitt, a coauthor of the study, says, “It will not only provide a quicker response to pandemics, but it will also make protein-based drugs more available to third-world countries where production and refrigerated storage can be problematic.”
“The drugs today are changing. The lifesaving cancer drugs we have now, the drugs for arthritis, the drugs with the greatest impact, are made out of proteins, not small chemical molecules,” explains Bundy. “This method takes full advantage of that to provide a quicker, more personal response.”
Source: Science Daily