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 New gene catalog of ocean microbiome reveals surprises
18.08.2017 | University of Hawaii at Manoa

nachricht Organ Crosstalk: Fatty Liver Can Cause Damage to Other Organs
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Diabetesforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New gene catalog of ocean microbiome reveals surprises

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Astrophysicists explain the mysterious behavior of cosmic rays

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

AI implications: Engineer's model lays groundwork for machine-learning device

18.08.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>