Synthetic biology amps up ‘decades-old’ vaccine technology

merlin b fedee fd c fb fb dccb superjumbo
Credit: Kent Sievers/Omaha World-Herald/AP

According to STAT, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institute of Health (NIH) are betting on synthetic biology to outperform nature in engineering new vaccines against the COVID-19 virus.

It’s a movement several years in the works. The idea is simple: we can already “train” the human immune system to recognize, hunt down, and attack invaders using variations of the viral enemy; chunks of virus, living viruses with kneecapped infection abilities. Scientists already largely understand how to trigger a safe immune response based on the makeup of a virus.

With synthetic biology, why can’t we amp up those responses multi-fold?

Thanks to breakneck-speed advances in genome sequencing and synthesis, it’s now relatively simple to engineer components of a virus that are critical for triggering an immune response. To synthetic biologists, this represents a critical opportunity to revamp a sluggish vaccine-engineering industry based on decades-old technology. Why conform to nature when there’s a chance to outwit its designs?

ADVERTISEMENT

If COVID-19 ever comes back, or another coronavirus epidemic emerges—a high chance, epidemiologists say—synthetic biology could offer us a plug-and-play universal vaccine. One that’s produced at scale, doesn’t need refrigeration, and can be easily tailored to a new outbreak and shipped to the entire world.

Related article:  Podcast: Ban 'factory farming'? GMO mosquitoes coming this summer; anti-biotech groups aren't 'grassroots'

Read the original post

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
GLP Podcasts
Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Do you know where biotech crops are grown in the world? This updated ISAAA infographics show where biotech crops were ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.

We Noticed You Have An Ad Blocker On.

Can you help fund the GLP? We're a nonprofit, so it's tax-deductible.

glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend