A new ‘stable liquid’ technology, developed by Cambridge Biostability Limited (CBL), will enable vaccines to be stored for long periods in a range of environmental conditions, removing the need for refrigeration and reconstitution.
Currently 50% of all vaccines are wasted partly due to suspected or real temperature damage.
The new technology is based on a natural phenomenon where some plants and creatures can remain in a desiccated state for hundreds of years and then return to life. They do this by increasing the sugar content of their bodily fluids. When rehydrated they ‘return to life’.
Cambridge Biostability’s stable liquid vaccine technology uses a similar process. Embedded in sugar beads or microspheres and suspended in an inert liquid, the vaccines can be stored without refrigeration until needed. When injected, in the same way as a traditional vaccine, the sugar beads dissolve in the bodily fluids to release the vaccine.
Sugar beads also prevent the interaction of vaccines prior to injection; therefore, multiple or multivalent vaccines can be developed using the technology and given in the same shot. The sugar can also be adapted to dissolve more slowly, thereby releasing vaccines over time. This would remove the need for boosters.
The stable vaccines will enable children in remote areas of the world to be reached by vaccination programmes. They will also allow emergency response teams to store vaccines in readiness for outbreaks of disease, and business travellers and the military to carry vaccines with them.
CBL plans to licence the technology to vaccine companies and discussions are already underway with a number of organisations. It will also provide outsourced production on shorter runs using its own facilities in Cambridge.