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 Cloud Formation: How Feldspar Acts as Ice Nucleus
09.12.2016 | Karlsruher Institut für Technologie

nachricht Closing the carbon loop
08.12.2016 | University of Pittsburgh

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Closing the carbon loop

08.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems

08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>