Prevention of many diseases or the elimination of epidemics would be impossible without vaccines. Unfortunately, it is still not possible to provide vaccination for everybody in need due to its costliness. However, the situation may change as American scientists have come up with a way to reduce the costs of vaccine development, preserving the high quality of the product.
A team of American researchers created a platform that is intended to reduce the cost of vaccine production and storage without affecting their quality and effectiveness. The technique has already been tested on the Zika virus vaccine. Modern technologies for vaccines manufacturing involve production in cell culture or with the help of chicken eggs. This is a rather expensive approach, which, among other things, is associated with the risk of infection. Besides, most vaccines need to be transported to low temperature storage, which doubles the cost of the vaccine for hot climate regions like the tropics and subtropics.
The brand-new platform utilizes a ‘live’ DNA vaccine to fight against viruses. The vaccine starts the production of antibodies and other protective mechanisms of the human immune system. This process does not involve cell culture or chicken eggs in vaccine production, and since DNA molecules are stable, the vaccine does not lose its properties at high temperatures and can be stored at room temperature for many years. While studied in mice, the DNA platform proved to be very efficient in protecting rodents from viral infection, its transmission from mother to fetus during pregnancy, and also from reproductive dysfunction in males.
This is the first study that demonstrates that a single low dose of a DNA vaccine causes a strong defense response. The researchers will continue testing this promising platform for other viruses to reveal a similar effect.