Vaccine wastage has been a yearly predicament in the health sector. According to many Scientists, one of its causes is improper handling during transportation and storage. Scientists from Michigan Technology University in the United States, as well as from other institutions believe that vaccines must be kept from two to eight degrees Celsius when in transport to maintain their reliability. Unfortunately, it is not always being practiced for one reason or another. To resolve this issue, Chemical Engineers have come about a new approach of using proteins to preserve vaccines instead of just depending on the accustomed refrigeration alone. This new leading-edge hopes to reduce the current amount of wastage we make with the therapeutic.
Biomaterial Science released a study-based article that claims that when exposed to inappropriate temperatures such as heat, viruses present in vaccines, which instruct human cells to determine and fight body intruders, tend to scatter as there are spaces that allow them to get around. Scientists explained that it is the heat that gives energy to the virus which enables them to move around and being not packed gives them the space to break down and fall apart. They added that to maintain the effectiveness of these vaccines, they need to be crowded or be placed in a cold setting.
Scientists used the technique known as Complex Coacervation for this recent study. It is the process of utilizing manufactured proteins that have two opposite charges – positive and negative, combining them, and when placed in a solution develops into a different fluid stage. This new fluid will act as an additional layer that will hold and enclose the virus’s internal components altogether.
According to Sarah Perry, a study co-author from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the United States, Coacervation materials are nothing new and are actually present in our day-to-day lives. To explain, Perry cited the dilution that happens when a shampoo is used on wet hair. The water that is present brings the shampoo onto a new different phase and aids in cleaning the hair from unwanted oil and dirt.
Scientists also emphasized that Complex Coacervation produces desirable results when done to nonenveloped viruses or those viruses which do not possess lipids or fatty layers around them. Examples of these are polio and the common cold virus.
In addition, Perry and the other Scientists believe that they cannot rely on lone crowding to enhance the virus’s strength. Scientists hope to focus and make advances on the elements they use in their coacervates. They recognize the need to concentrate the study on how polymers engage with the viruses and how they can use this to create a toolbox that can be utilized for future challenges. To assert the safeness of this innovation, Scientists have made a comparison between the amino acids found in the manufactured protein and the building blocks present in the human body, saying they are the same and adding also the assurance that no new substances other than those already known to be safe were added to the vaccines.