According to Charles Christy, head of commercial solutions, Ibex Dedicate, Lonza, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been driving progress with several vaccine formats including inactivated vaccines, nonreplicating vaccines, adjuvanted recombinant protein vaccines, DNA and mRNA vaccines, live attenuated vaccines, protein subunit vaccines, T cell–based vaccines, and more.
It is clear that the COVID-19 emergency is speeding vaccine development. It also appears that vaccine development may gain enough momentum to overcome new challenges once COVID-19 is contained.
Of the new formats, mRNA vaccines are especially interesting, according to Christy. They offer significant potential advantages in terms of speed, platform production, and dose sparing. With these advantages, mRNA vaccines could facilitate the rapid treatment of global populations.
Speed was certainly evident during production of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (mRNA-1273). This vaccine went from sequence selection to preclinical evaluation in 63 days.
“New advancements in mRNA vaccines and other novel vaccines may mean that we are entering a new golden age for vaccines,” says Christy. “However, important work remains to ensure global access, adequate capacity, and ease of administration. In addition, the industry has a key education task to ensure widespread uptake.”