Living With Vaccines

Silkworm

Silkworm, Bombyx mori

One of the challenges of vaccines is keeping the vaccine stable in storage. Vaccines are susceptible to colonization by microbes and degradation at ambient temperature. Vaccines are stored at low temperatures to reduce degradation, but refrigeration is expensive and must be constantly maintained. Refrigeration may not be an option in some areas that lack electricity or refrigeration.

Chemical stabilization can have drawbacks. Thimerosal, used at one time for vaccine stabilization, has been discontinued over concerns about the health effects. One promising alternative is adding fibroin, the protein in silk, to a vaccine. This idea, being developed by Vaxess Technologies, received a 2015 Verizon Powerful Answers Award. Silk is widely used in medical applications with a long history of success. It is resistant to microorganism growth. Will it provide sufficient stabilization and not cause side effects? If successful, fibroin could greatly aid vaccination programs. The innovation is described as:

a soluble, silk-stabilized vaccine that can be shipped without refrigeration, and extend the global reach and access to vaccine products.

Insects and insect biomaterials can improve our lives.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in Biomaterials, by jjneal, News. Bookmark the permalink.

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