Freeze-dried COVID-19 vaccine could help immunize poorer countries to prevent variants like Omicron

Variants like Omicron are bound to arise when not enough people are vaccinated against deadly diseases like COVID-19. The more healthy the body, the more infectious the new coronavirus can be, the more chance the virus has to mutate into something that could bypass our best efforts to finally get through the pandemic. This is of particular concern in places like Africa, where Omicron was first detected and where vaccination coverage is available in many countries. only 10 percent or less.

Marcus Schbacker, president and chief executive officer of the healthcare nonprofit that doesn’t achieve even 10% immunization coverage in many countries creates ideal conditions for the virus to mutate and evolve. ability to mutate into more lethal, infectious variants. ECRI, told The Daily Beast.

Part of the problem is logistical – vaccines need to be kept very cold until they are finally administered to the patient. This is a nightmare in poorer communities worldwide that lack refrigeration infrastructure. But one way around this is to freeze-dried vaccines so they can be transported and stored at room temperature, making it easier to get vaccines into weapons around the planet. That is a big reason Vaccination led to the eradication of smallpox.

Now, a groundbreaking demonstration by scientists at the University of Buffalo suggests we may soon see a COVID-19 vaccine that we can safely freeze-dry and use for culture. into the world more with fewer obstacles.

Jonathan Lovell, a biomedical engineer who led the new study with doctoral student Moustafa Mabrouk, told The Daily: “During the initial deployment of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, attention was drawn to it. a lot to the supercooling required for those vaccines. Beast. “We asked ourselves if freeze drying could be a way to finally bypass some of the limitations of cold storage.”

Freeze-drying involves removing water from a frozen product, preserving it for longer than was originally intended, even at room temperature. Adding water will return the product to its original state, more or less. Think military rations and astronaut food.

But making freeze-dried vaccines is a different story. For Lovell and Mabrouk, the core of this approach is liposomes – pockets of fat filled with water. They have been used in a number of different existing vaccines, including those that protect against shingles, although no current COVID vaccines use this approach. And the University at Buffalo team before that show that liposome-based formulations can be lyophilized and returned to a liquid state without affecting vaccine efficacy.

In their new study, published Wednesday in Scientific advance, researchers have developed a COVID vaccine that displays the coronavirus spike protein on the surface of liposomes. When introduced into the body’s immune system, it induces the same immune response as other COVID vaccines, they concluded. They also added sucrose, a sugar that protects the integrity of the recipe during the freeze-drying process.

The team’s new COVID-19 vaccine is in a freeze-dried state.

Douglas Levere / University at Buffalo

When freeze-dried, the vaccine looks like a soft, mint-green cotton candy. But it can withstand ambient and high temperatures for at least a week without any problems, the scientists say.

The team even tested the vaccine on mice, adding water to bring it back into liquid form and then injecting it into mice that carried a copy of the human ACE2 gene (responsible for making the protein that allows coronavirus enters healthy cells. ). Those mice were then exposed to the live coronavirus. According to the study, most of the vaccinated mice had undetectable levels of the virus and all survived, while many in the unvaccinated group quickly succumbed to the infection. base on the research.

Lovell and his colleagues wasted no time moving these results forward. His company is currently testing a liposome-based COVID vaccine in clinical trials in Korea with another vaccine manufacturer. Although that vaccine candidate uses a slightly different formulation than the one used in this study, Lovell said it would exhibit the same properties under freeze-dried conditions and it is likely that we will soon saw another group of clinical trials to prove this.

“The failure to achieve even 10% vaccination coverage in many countries creates ideal conditions for the virus to mutate and evolve, potentially into more lethal, transmissible variants.”

– Marcus Schbacker

Schbacker, who was not involved in the research chapter. “Improves in freeze-drying such as those illustrated in this study could make it easier to reduce vaccine waste and increase vaccination rates in these countries, which could reduce the likelihood of there are variations like Omicron.”

The world may not be able to afford more shocks like the one Omicron caused this past week. The only way to prevent the dreaded variants from appearing is to break down as many immunisation obstacles as possible, and lyophilized preparations can prove a powerful tool for that. Freeze-dried COVID-19 vaccine could help immunize poorer countries to prevent variants like Omicron


ClareFora is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. ClareFora joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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