Research Fellows Directory
Dr Asel Sartbaeva
University of Bath
Currently vaccines and many other drugs require to be refrigerated from the time they are produced to the time of administration to patients. For most countries worldwide, this time period from purchasing vaccines to getting viable vaccines to the patients can extend for as long as 6-9 months, and vaccines have to be refrigerated during the whole period.This is called "cold chain distribution", and most vaccines have to be stored between 2-8C at all times. Cold chain along costs at least $300 million every year, and more than 20 million children worldwide are not vaccinated by the age of 12 months, due to vaccine waste and problems with cold chain. Many vaccines denature at room temperatures within hours, which leads to insufficient efficacy of vaccines. Some studies have shown that patents have been vaccinated with denatured vaccines leaving them vulnerable to the diseases and reducing the heard immunity against vaccine-preventable diseases in the local communities.
I am using an inorganic material, amorphous silica, SiO2 to prevent protein denaturation in vaccines. We do this by growing covalent inorganic network around the proteins, which then helps to prevent proteins from unfolding, which is a leading cause for protein denaturation. We now have results for two proteins, where we can show that silica helps us to preserve both structure and function of those proteins both from heat and during long term storage at room temperature. After we remove the silica coating, both proteins function as before ensilication. We are now working on extending the ensilciation protocol for use of insulin and will start work on MMR and tetanus vaccines in the near future.
Application of this ensilication method to vaccines, insulin and other drugs will potentially save millions of pounds, will reduce the waste of vaccines dramatically, but most importantly will save millions of lives worldwide.
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