Fast-Tracking The Development of Next-Generation Vaccines for Global Disease Prevention
Vaccines have transformed human health by providing specific, long lasting protection and even eradicating widespread of diseases such as polio and small pox. The development of single vaccine requires at least 10 years and millions of dollars, but the toughest challenge often lie in the timing and delivery. One can’t afford a decade long of development as we have seen the emergence of new virus’s outbreaks as in the case of Ebola and Zika in recent years which had a devastating effect on many affected communities. So, it is necessary to develop vaccines at a short period of time to control these types of outbreaks. And even if development is accelerated, strategies need to be developed to delivery vaccines to millions of people in a short amount of time to fully curtail an epidemic. For instance, to develop influenza vaccines, companies are finding faster ways using tobacco plants, insects, and nanoparticle systems, rather than relying on chicken eggs to incubate the virus.
These innovative methods will also save millions of dollars in development costs. Innovators are also perfecting the use of freeze drying of vaccines to improve the shelf life which can allow shipment of more products to areas where they’re needed most. Even though vaccines are available for many infections, millions of young children still die each year across the globe since children (and parents) do not prefer vaccines as injections.
To overcome this, many oral form of the vaccine have been developed in recent years. Edible vaccines, mucosal vaccines, intranasal vaccines, and vaccine chips are also all under development for treating various virus types. Recently, researchers are working on immune tissues that could be designed and implanted to create next-generation vaccines or immunotherapies for a range of diseases, or serve as cutting-edge tools for the early diagnosis of cancers or other illnesses.
Engineers might someday be able to design immune tissues for implantation into patients to generate the exact immune responses needed to fight a disease such as cancer without side effects. These technologies might also create precise immune tissue models that allow rapid screening of vaccines or immunotherapies outside the body.