Tag Archives: MRNA

Can Australia produce a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine like Pfizer? | Instant News

Vaccine experts say Australia has the potential to make mRNA vaccines like Pfizer in the country – but it will take time and investment to increase domestic manufacturing capabilities.

This follows health authorities recommending that the Pfizer vaccine should be given to Australians who are under 50 years of age concerns about rare blood clots potentially associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Archa Fox, an mRNA researcher at the University of Western Australia, says nothing is stopping us from creating a Pfizer vaccine here.

“This is what we have been saying for almost a year. We can make it happen. We just need investment,” he said.

“It’s actually not that complicated to do from a scientific point of view.

“Technology, equipment – it’s there, we can buy it, we just need, basically, a will.”

RMIT University professor of immunology, Magdalena Plebanski, agrees.

“Scientifically, we are mature and ready to face such challenges as a country,” he said.

Dr Fox said it was frustrating to learn that the Pfizer vaccine was not more strongly supported by the federal government last year, but acknowledged it would be difficult for experts to weigh its options.

“It’s all very well and good to say with hindsight that we should have invested in this early on,” he said.

“Because at the start of the pandemic, and in the middle of last year, so many vaccines were developed that it was difficult to know which would be the right one.”

So why isn’t an mRNA vaccine like Pfizer made in Australia?

And why did Australia choose to manufacture AstraZeneca?

This is what we know so far.

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The AstraZeneca vaccine presents minimal risk for a very large payoff.

Pfizer vs AstraZeneca

Both the Pfizer vaccine and the AstraZeneca COVID-19 work in the same basic way.

They train the immune system to recognize the protein spikes in SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).

But they do it using a different technology.

AstraZeneca uses harmless chimpanzee adenovirus to deliver DNA into our cells.

Pfizer, on the other hand, uses messenger RNA (mRNA) encased in a lipid layer, which, to date, has not been approved for use in human vaccines.

MRNA – the active ingredient – is very fragile, therefore it is necessary to maintain mRNA between -60C and -90C.

Professor Plebanski said that because only a few companies in the world produced this particular lipid, it caused a shortage of supply.

“Even Pfizer itself has acknowledged that some components are quite limited,” he said.

Professor Plebanski compared making a vaccine to assembling a Lego structure, where one of the main blocks is hard to find.

Dr Fox agreed, explaining that the single-use plastic bags that were put into the reactor vessel during vaccine production were not widely available.

Supply issues with critical components of the Pfizer vaccine are one reason Australia can’t start making these injections tomorrow.

So if Australia is going to start producing its own mRNA vaccine, Dr Fox said Australia has to make its components too, eliminating the supply problem.

Why Australia made AstraZeneca

This basically boils down to already having manufacturing capabilities.

To make the AstraZeneca vaccine, manufacturers must grow large numbers of mammalian cells, infect them with adenoviruses, screen for adenoviruses, then dilute, test and bottle them.

“There are facilities in Australia [with] experience developing safe viral vector-based vaccines, “said Professor Plebanski.

Thus, the decision to support The AstraZeneca vaccine was created by the federal government in December 2020.

Professor Plebanski said at the moment, Australia doesn’t have the manufacturing capabilities to make mRNA vaccines at the scale we need – but we can do it with considerable investment.

Apart from these logistical issues, AstraZeneca as a company does not subcontract in the same way Pfizer does.

“AstraZeneca is very pleased to outsource supply,” said Professor Plebanski.

However, Pfizer prefers to retain its rights to vaccines and also produce them.

The Pfizer dosage purchased by the Australian government will be manufactured in the United States, Belgium and Germany.

And Pfizer will begin closing its Australian manufacturing facilities next year.

But Pfizer isn’t the only COVID-19 mRNA vaccine on the market – Moderna, launched in the US, uses similar technology – meaning there are other possible avenues for obtaining a local license.

‘Potential’ for the future

Dr Fox said although an Australian-made mRNA vaccine is not on the cards for the first generation COVID-19 vaccine, it may be in the future.

“I don’t think it’s too late. I don’t think this technology will go away. It will last,” he said.

Another benefit of manufacturing mRNA vaccines is that it is easier to “adapt” the vaccine to target new and emerging variants, Dr. Fox.

“It’s potentially much easier to change the order of the variants,” he said.


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Meet Britain’s First Synthetic Biological Unicorn | Instant News

The genetic medicine industry is booming, increasing the demand for DNA at an exponential rate. This need is increasingly being pushed because more and more companies are focusing on the manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines and other types of mRNA products.

Synthetic biology has the potential to revolutionize this growing industry and solve the problem of DNA supply for genetic medicine. Recent advances in pure synthetic DNA from Touchlight in United Kingdom could be the kind of disruptive technology that manufacturers need to upgrade.

Genetic Medicine is the Future

Genetic medicine focuses on using DNA and RNA to provide therapy. Vaccines and other products that rely on mRNA are a growing sector in the synthetic biology industry. This new therapy creates possibilities for safer and more effective personal care.

The demand for the COVID-19 vaccine has highlighted the importance of mRNA products. MRNA vaccines rely on non-viral vectors for delivery, which means they are produced more quickly because they can be made via synthetic production.

“We are constantly being challenged by disease. And we have to find new, efficient and safe ways to vaccinate. Going forward, the mRNA vaccine will continue to be important,” he said. Touchlight Executive Chairman, Jonny Ohlson.

Increased Demand for DNA

Because genetic drugs and vaccines require DNA for their manufacture, the demand for these key ingredients continues to increase. Today, if a new mRNA product hits the market, it could use up to 50% of the world’s current DNA supply. And there are many mRNA products in different clinical phases that require more DNA.

“We are talking to mRNA producers, and they need kilograms of DNA now,” Ohlson said. “Some vaccine makers will need hundreds of kilograms of DNA in the future. We estimate the current world DNA supply to be around 3 kilograms per year.” One kilogram of DNA may not sound like a lot. But given that DNA is made up of microscopic molecules, a kilogram of DNA represents a significant volume.

Traditional DNA generation relies on plasmids and bacterial fermentation. However, this method can no longer meet the supply needs of producers because of its cost and slow turnaround.

The Great Potential of Synthetic DNA

Synthetic biology offers a solution to help companies acquire DNA in much larger quantities. Touchlight synthetic DNA – called dbDNA (doggybone DNA) – offers unique advantages over plasmids and other DNA formats. “DbDNA can do all the things plasmid DNA can do. Better, cheaper and faster,” Ohlson said.

Produced by a completely synthetic process in a cell-free environment, dbDNA is a double-stranded linear DNA vector. Producing dbDNA is much faster than producing plasmid DNA, taking weeks, not months. In addition, the equipment for making dbDNA has a smaller production footprint than plasmids, so companies can scale their production more easily.

DbDNA Touchlight also has the benefit of being pure DNA, unlike plasmids. When plasmid DNA is amplified, it creates products with genes for antibiotic resistance, origin of replication, and other unwanted bits. However, Touchlight uses two enzymes to amplify synthetic DNA so that it can be scaled without impurities or bacterial strings.

The sequencing of unwanted bacteria is a major problem for genetic treatment because they interfere with the goal of the end product, such as a therapy that has unexpected immune effects. Pure DNA such as dbDNA is safer and eliminates these types of problems.

Touchlight recently announced a £ 42 million ($ 60 million) funding round led by Bridford Investments Limited. The company plans to double production space and increase DNA production by up to 1 kilogram per month by the first quarter of 2022.

The funds will also help companies add 11 cutting-edge DNA production sequences for a total of 15 and create up to 60 new jobs. However, the company’s unique benchtop technology means the facility’s total footprint will be only 7,500 square feet, which is a fraction of the space required for plasmid DNA generation.

Genetic medicine looks like the future of therapy. New vaccines, cell therapy, and gene therapy all have the potential to change lives. And, as many predict that COVID-19 will not be the last pandemic requiring rapid vaccination, mRNA vaccines will continue to be of global therapeutic necessity. Synthetic biology could hold the key to helping companies increase the production of vaccines and other DNA and RNA-based therapies.

Thanks to Lana Bandoim for additional research and reporting in this article. I am the founder of SynBioBeta, and some of the companies I write about are conference sponsors of SynBioBeta and weekly digest.


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Novartis will help manufacture Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine | Instant News

Novartis has agreed to help manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine jointly developed by Pfizer and BioNTech to support the vaccine supply chain, the Swiss drugmaker. announced January 29th.

Using its manufacturing facility in Stein, Switzerland, Novartis will fill the vial with bulk messenger RNA (the active ingredient of the vaccine) and ship it to BioNTech. The amount has not been disclosed, as the deal reached a final agreement.

Novartis plans to start production in the second quarter of 2021, with initial deliveries slated for the third quarter.

Steffen Lang, Novartis’ head of technical operations, said in a news release that the drugmaker is committed to using its manufacturing capabilities to help end the pandemic and expects this agreement “to be the first of a number of such agreements.”

The announcement comes two days after French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi announced his plans to produce more than 125 million doses of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

More articles on pharmacy:
Executives from the Cleveland Clinic, Baystate Health share the challenges facing their vaccine program
Antibody drug Eli Lilly COVID-19 reduces hospitalization, risk of death, trials
J&J says its COVID-19 vaccine is 66% effective

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Stocks Laughing on Economic Uncertainty, for Now | Instant News

US economic uncertainty remains at near record levels, and the stock market is at an all-time high. If history is any guide, something has to be given.

It’s the message that flashes from an index of economic uncertainty created by three finance professors: Scott Baker of Northwestern University, Nicholas Bloom of Stanford University and Steven Davis of the University of Chicago. Prior to this year, there was a strong correlation between the rise in this index and the decline in stocks. In fact, based on this historical pattern in 1900, the S&P 500 appears to be about 20% taller than it should be.

Such signals may seem surprising given the near-final election resolution and the hopeful news on the Covid-19 vaccine front. But this is how the professor index works.

This index is based on the frequency of mention of words and phrases related to economic uncertainty in major newspapers. In the accompanying chart, this index – known as the Economic Policy Uncertainty Index, or EPU, – has retreated somewhat from its April and May spike, but remains nearly three times higher than average over the past several decades.

In an interview, Prof. Bloom explained that there are several ways in which increasing economic uncertainty is a barrier to economic growth. This increases the cost of capital, for example, which means that businesses can’t justify new projects as much as they do. This causes businesses and consumers to delay spending. And that reduces the effectiveness of the government’s stimulus program.


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Covid 19 coronavirus: How will the first available vaccine in New Zealand work? | Instant News

BioNTech and Pfizer’s mRNA coronavirus vaccines could be launched in New Zealand early next year, subject to final testing and approval. Photo / Provided

The mRNA coronavirus vaccine, which could arrive in New Zealand as early as next year, subject to final tests and regulations, will be the latest incarnation of the immunological revolution sweeping science. Professor Graham


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