New Research Hub Tackles Access to Vaccines

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The Future Vaccine Manufacturing Hub will work with CPI as well as other UK institutions to address challenges of vaccine production and distribution so that the spread of new diseases can be effectively tackled.

The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), the United Kingdom’s technology innovation provider for process manufacturing, announcedon June 4, 2018 that it is joining a new research hub focused on delivering high-quality vaccines at low cost to prevent outbreaks of diseases such as Zika and Ebola. Led by Imperial College London, the new Future Vaccine Manufacturing Hub involves contributions from CPI alongside four UK universities, two UK institutes, and global distribution channels. 

It is estimated that one in five infants across the world do not have access to basic vaccines that can prevent deaths and illnesses from diseases such as measles, mumps and polio. Effective vaccine distribution is most problematic in economically deprived areas where production and distribution channels can be easily disrupted. This challenge drives the need for more flexible, modular manufacture and distribution platforms that can offer rapid, tailored response to emerging threats. 

The Future Vaccine Manufacturing Hub will work with CPI as well as other UK institutions, to address two key challenges:

  • Designing a flexible modular production system that can be used to manufacture tens of thousands of vaccine doses in weeks once a new threat has been identified and sequenced 

  • Improving and optimizing existing manufacturing processes to improve vaccine stability, efficacy, while also reducing the cost of storage and manufacture.

To achieve these goals, scientists will adopt an integrated approach that builds on developments in life sciences, immunology, and process systems. The project has been provided with nearly GBP10 million ($13.4 million) of funding by the Department for Health over 40 months, and it is being managed by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). 

The hub involves CPI, the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge, Nottingham and Cranfield University, as well as the Clinical Biotechnology Centre (CBC) as part of NHS Blood and Transplant, and the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC). 

The research hub is also partnering with GSK Vaccines Institute for Global Health. Aiding with the distribution of vaccines, the hub is collaborating with global vaccine manufacturing networks, Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturing Network (DCVMN), and the African Vaccine Manufacturers Initiative (AVMI), with global research projects taking place in India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Uganda and China before expanding into other countries. 

Source: CPI