New vaccine production technology from a British university has been transferred to Việt Nam which may help lower the cost and shorten production times.

Vaccine scientists from the University of Bristol are working with Vietnamese vaccine manufacturer the Company for Vaccine and Biological Production No 1 (Vabiotech) to share cutting-edge knowledge that could help prevent future global outbreaks of avian flu and rabies.

Vabiotech and the University of Bristol are partners in the Future Vaccine Manufacturing Research Hub (FVMR Hub), a collaborative initiative led by Imperial College London and supported by UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

“While rapidly developing countries, such as Việt Nam, have an impressive capacity to manufacture vaccines tailored to local needs, this has historically been hampered by a lack of access to the cutting-edge innovations in vaccine technology we specialise in here in the UK,” said Professor Berger, director of the Max Planck Bristol Centre for Minimal Biology at the University of Bristol.

“Our aim in working with Vabiotech is to share knowledge that will aid and expedite the development of next-generation vaccines specifically for deployment in Việt Nam,” he added.

Scientists from Vabiotech are being trained by Berger and his team on MultiBac, a powerful recombinant production technology the Berger team pioneered.

According to Berger, MultiBac is uniquely suited for producing novel vaccines in large quantities in insect cells that can be easily cultured at a low cost. The objective is to master the MultiBac technique and implement the technology in large-scale biofermenters in Việt Nam, he said.

Together with Vabiotech and supported by the FVMR Hub, Berger is targeting the use of MultiBac towards the production of vaccines for pandemic (avian) influenza, as well as rabies and other pathogens.

“Vabiotech is particularly interested in using MultiBac to produce vaccines to combat avian flu. We saw a few years ago how quickly avian flu, which began in Việt Nam, developed into a global threat for humans,” Berger said. “While the threat of avian flu in Việt Nam still looms, deployment of a suitable vaccine could therefore help prevent future pandemics,” he said, adding that the new technology had been used by many major vaccine manufacturers around the world and successfully developed in more than 1,000 laboratories.

Dr Đỗ Tuấn Đạt, president and director general of Vabiotech, said that MultiBac was particularly suitable for the production of new vaccines with large volumes.

“Vabiotech is aiming to use MultiBac to produce avian flu vaccines and rabies vaccines, ” Đạt said.

He explained that with traditional vaccines, based on virus isolation, scientists had to cultivate vaccines on monkey kidneys and chicken eggs.

“Using this innovative technology, scientists only need to understand the characteristics of the virus strain and genome to start growing. The study period can be shortened to three weeks from the normal level of three months,” Đạt said.

“When a pandemic happens, the demand for vaccines is high. This new technology will help shorten the research time, improve quality and reduce production costs,” he said.

According to Đạt, the project was in the technological exploration stage and would take at least three years for the company’s R&D department to develop it successfully.




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