EU researchers have set out to substitute liquid and freeze-dried vaccines for new, solid state candidates. If successful, the research will enable the large scale production of new virosome-based vaccines with increased stability, longer shelf life and less invasive administration methods.
To this day, immunisation remains the most effective way to eradicate diseases. Their widespread use has helped reduce the incidence of diseases such as hepatitis A, polio, rubella, tetanus or varicella by over 90 % compared to pre-vaccine era.
A major problem for health professionals, however, has been the instability of these biological preparations. Transported in liquid or freeze-dried form, vaccines require strict respect of the cold-chain and extreme finesse to maintain their safety and efficacy and ultimately avoid unwanted immune responses or insufficient immune protection. Conscious that factors such as heat, light, radiations or changes in the environment can affect vaccines' components, researchers funded under the MACIVIVA project are now considering solid vaccines as a potential solution.
'With more than 90 % of the existing vaccines dependent on the cold-chain and the resulting detrimental impact on availability, efficacy and costs of these vaccines in developing countries, there is an undisputable need to innovate and manufacture vaccines that are stable and temperature independent,' explained Ronald Kempers, CEO of the Swiss-based project partner Mymetics.