A synthetic vaccine is a vaccine consisting mainly of synthetic peptides, carbohydrates, or antigens. They are usually considered to be safer than vaccines from bacterial cultures. Creating vaccines synthetically has the ability to increase the speed of production. This is especially important in the event of a pandemic.
During the H1N1 outbreak in 2009, vaccines only became available in large quantities after the peak of human infections. This was a learning experience for vaccination companies. Novartis Vaccine and Diagnostics, among other companies, developed a synthetic approach that very rapidly generates vaccine viruses from sequence data in order to be able to administer vaccinations early in the pandemic outbreak. Philip Dormatizer, the leader of viral vaccine research at Novartis, says they have "developed a way of chemically synthesizing virus genomes and growing them in tissue culture cells".
Phase I data of UB-311, a synthetic peptide vaccine targeting amyloid beta, showed that the drug was able to generate antibodies to specific amyloid beta oligomers and fibrils with no decrease in antibody levels in patients of advanced age. Results from the Phase II trial are expected in the second half of 2018.
- Young Rojahn, Susan (May 14, 2013). "Synthetic Biology Could Speed Flu Vaccine Production". MIT Technology Review.
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- Article on synthetic Hib vaccine
- CRISP Thesaurus entry on Synthetic Vaccines
- Web Health Centre: History of Vaccines
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