Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The flu vaccine in powder form – the answer to a pandemic?

21.12.2007
In recent years, the bird flu virus has caught the attention of all of Western Europe. In 2006 in particular, there was a lot of speculation about a wide-scale flu outbreak, in other words a pandemic. The Dutch government was worried about running short of vaccine, mainly because it has a very short shelf-life.

All that could change, says PhD student Jean-Pierre Amorij of the University of Groningen. In his thesis he describes a way of storing flu vaccine in powder form. It can then be stored for at least a year – more than enough time to build up national stocks.

Amorij will be awarded his PhD on 4 January 2008. During the past four years he has examined all kinds of methods for long-term storage of the flu vaccine. The answer lay in what is known as freeze drying – a protein molecule, such as a vaccine, is extremely quickly frozen between millions of sugar molecules. These molecules bunch together like miniscule balls around the vaccine, so that it can be stored stably in a dried form.

Sugars
Amorij did not use ordinary sugars for the freeze-drying process but special types like inulin and trehalose. It took Amorij eighteen months to find a freeze-drying process that was exactly right. That is painstaking but important work because the vaccine still has to work even after freeze drying. ‘The biggest problem was choosing the right freezing speed and the right sugar', says Amorij. But he managed it. The result looks like icing sugar.
No need for a flu jab
Freeze-dried flu vaccine not only has a longer shelf-life, it’s also easier to use. You don’t need injection needles any more as the powdered vaccine can be swallowed or inhaled. That will save a lot of time if the government has to vaccinate a lot of people very fast during a pandemic. You don’t need medical personnel to be present when swallowing or inhaling. Amorij also conducted tests on mice to see whether inhaling or swallowing worked best. ‘Inhaling was by far the most effective with the mice,’ he says. ‘The immune reaction was even more powerful than with an injection.’ According to Amorij, the powder is particularly suited to inhalation. It is very light and stays suspended so it can penetrate deep into the lungs. That makes absorption even more efficient.
Application
When the time comes, it thus looks as if all of the Netherlands will be immunised during a pandemic via inhalers. However, according to Amorij the application will take some time yet. ‘So far we’ve only tested it on mice. The tests on people still have to take place. If everything goes well, then that could happen within five years. If there are a few setbacks it could take ten years. One thing is certain, though, it’s on its way.’
Curriculum Vitae
Jean-Pierre Amorij (Zaanstad, 1978) studied Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Engineering at the University of Groningen and was awarded his Pharmacist’s diploma in 2003. His PhD thesis at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the University of Groningen was supervised by Prof. H.W. Frijlink. He conducted his research at the Department of Pharmaceutical Engineering and Biopharmaceutics of the University of Groningen in close cooperation with the Department of Medical Microbiology, Molecular Virology section (Prof. J.C. Wilschut) of the University Medical Center Groningen and the University of Groningen. His thesis is entitled The Development Of Stable Influenza Vaccine Powder Formulations For New Needle Free Dosage Forms.

Jos Speekman | alfa
Further information:
http://www.rug.nl/Corporate/nieuws/archief/archief2007/persberichten/133_07

Further reports about: Amorij Vaccine flu pandemic

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution
27.03.2017 | Lancaster University

nachricht Parallel computation provides deeper insight into brain function
27.03.2017 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>