Scientists Develop New Method to Produce 'Safer' Vaccines

by Rukmani Krishna on Mar 31 2013 9:31 PM

 Scientists Develop New Method to Produce
Manufacturers choose to operate under strict controls to ensure that no pathogens escape to the outside world, since producing vaccines against viral threats is a potentially hazardous business.
Now, scientists from the UK have developed a new method to create an entirely synthetic vaccine that doesn't rely on using live infectious virus, which means it is much safer, the BBC reported.

Also the prototype vaccine that they have created, for the animal disease foot-and-mouth, has been engineered to make it more stable, meaning that it can be kept out of the fridge for many hours before returning to the cold chain.

The research is a collaboration between scientists at Oxford and Reading Universities, the Pirbright Institute, and the UK's national synchrotron facility, the Diamond Light Source near Oxford.

Diamond is a particle accelerator that sends electrons round a giant magnetic ring at close to the light speeds, the electrons emit energy in the form of intense X-rays that are channelled along "beamlines"- into labs where they are used to analyse structures in extraordinary detail.

Synchrotrons have been used earlier to analyse viruses at the atomic level, but the technology has advanced considerably to enable scientists to create a stable synthetic vaccine.

Dave Stuart, Life Sciences Director at Diamond, and MRC Professor of Structural Biology at the University of Oxford, said that unlike traditional vaccines, there is no chance that an empty shell vaccine will revert to infectious form.

The research has been published in the journal PLOS pathogens.