Bacteriophage offer more effective vaccinations

December 7, 2007

A unique delivery process could mean faster, cheaper and more effective vaccination procedures.

A unique delivery process could mean faster, cheaper and more effective vaccination procedures. Instead of using the disease organism itself, which all conventional vaccines rely on, the new technology uses bacterial viruses called 'bacteriophage' that contain DNA. The DNA vaccine is placed inside the bacteriophage with special instructions so that the vaccinated host can make the vaccine by reading the DNA.

Big DNA Ltd, a spin out company from the Moredun Research Institute in Edinburgh (UK), has been created to develop and commercialize the technology. Dr John March, creator of the company, says: "We couldn't have taken the development of this process further, without spinning out the technology, patents and processes from the research establishment and creating Big DNA Ltd as a commercial firm to do it. The potential here is enormous and I am passionate about getting this process to become a reality."

Bacteriophage have many advantages. Conventional vaccines are difficult and expensive to make, require specialist facilities and expertise, and sometimes fail to work for certain diseases. Bacteriophage cannot cause the disease they are immunizing against and can also be taken orally, either in liquid or tablet form, eliminating the need for needles and injections, and all their associated hazards.

March concludes: "This cheap and effective way of developing and delivering vaccines has enormous importance for public health in the future."

 

 

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