Prevention is the best medicine: Untangling viruses and vaccines

Prevention is the best medicine: unraveling viruses and vaccines

The saying “pprevention is the best cure,is as old as the world and has never been more appropriate or meaningful in the health climate than it is now. Preventive medicine is known to be one of the three main pillars of healthcare, along with treatment and diagnosis, and is considered perhaps one of the most difficult disciplines.

Prevention is the best medicine: unraveling viruses and vaccines

Image credit: ACROBisystems

Vaccines, the main tools of preventive medicine, have found themselves challenged in several areas, such as social, industrial and political. Factors such as viral mutations, lack of funding and, more recently, public misinformation have hampered vaccine development and distribution programs.

Yet with the onset and subsequent persistence of COVID-19, vaccines have found themselves in the spotlight with renewed interest. In the post-COVID era, it is important to consider what this means for viruses, vaccines and their variants in the days to come.

Many countries are finally reopening their borders and restoring travel and tourism. Does this mean that the pandemic is finally over?

This is a difficult question to answer. The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly been difficult for everyone, and it would be prudent to continue to monitor the evolution of the pandemic and the development of new vaccines.

With the sporadic outbreak of new mutations, it is therefore extremely difficult to anticipate what is likely to happen next. Given that more than 70% of the population is already vaccinated, society is unlikely to have to revert to nationwide quarantines and shutdowns.

However, for this to remain true, it is important to follow COVID booster shots, and people are always expected to think of others when traveling, especially at-risk populations.

Vaccine development and distribution has been critical during the COVID pandemic. With most of the population fully vaccinated, what does the future hold for COVID vaccines?

Initially, the vaccines that were developed and distributed were based on wild type SARS-CoV-2 – the lineage that was discovered in Wuhan in late 2019. Since then, new variants have replaced the original as the dominant variant. Currently, this is for BA.4 and BA.5, with a BA.2.75 sub-variant, expected to be the next dominant variant.

The main thing to note is that these new variants are the culmination of more than 30 or more mutations. The viral structure has already completely changed, affecting the effectiveness of the original vaccines developed. Today, vaccines are still very valuable when it comes to preventing death and extreme disease. However, they are unable to regulate the infection.

Regarding COVID-19, the main advantage of mRNA vaccines is their short manufacturing cycle, which is particularly beneficial for combating highly infectious and rapidly mutating viruses. Despite the variations, the vaccines are all evaluated in the same way: immunogenicity, safety and clinical effectiveness.

Safety ensures that there are no risks or abnormal side effects to the vaccine. Immunogenicity assesses the potential of a vaccine to elicit an immune response. This needs to be tested through several in vitro tests like anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody titer and measurement of cytokine secretion by T cells.

Finally, clinical efficacy must be established via clinical parameters such as a reduction in asymptomatic or symptomatic infections, hospitalizations and deaths. Therefore, these three studies are considered a crucial part of the clinical and preclinical phases at the time of vaccine development.

Going forward, how will ACROBiosystems continue to contribute to vaccine research, development and manufacturing?

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, ACROBiosystems has developed a reliable blueprint and development platform to help vaccine manufacturers in their fight against infectious diseases and viruses.

Doctors are still monitoring the development of SARS-CoV-2 around the world and will constantly provide new variant products, such as antigens, antibodies and kits. Apart from SARS-CoV-2, ACROBio also provides a range of antibodies and antigens targeting influenza, HIV and varicella zoster virus.

Additionally, ACROBio has a plan to continuously monitor both the COVID-19 pandemic and other rising diseases to deliver products that accelerate vaccine development and manufacturing across the globe.

To help build society’s understanding of vaccines and their interaction with infectious diseases, Dr. Pingju Ge was invited to an open lecture on the virus. She is a resident expert at ACROBiosystems.

In addition to his vaccine manufacturing expertise, Dr. Pingju Ge has tracked the progress of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic from the start and led ACROBiosystems’ development of crucial vaccine manufacturing reagents and kits.

As such, the development of new vaccines, including bivalent vaccines or mutant-specific booster shots, becomes a priority when it comes to recharging science’s immunity, preventing the spread of disease, and to protect the population at risk.

Is there any hope that boosters of existing vaccines will be enough to stop the further development of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Many studies have verified that vaccine boosters have the potential to increase neutralizing antibody titer and improve overall vaccine safety.

This is especially true for upcoming booster and bivalent vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, as early clinical results have proven that these new mutant-specific boosters are more effective against current dominant strains than the original booster shots.

As more mutant-specific boosters and bivalent vaccines begin to roll out, infection rates are expected to decline along with hospitalizations and deaths. Yet it remains unclear if this is enough to stop the spread of COVID-19 and end the pandemic, as developing a vaccine is initially the first step towards managing the infection.

However, with the availability of a new mRNA vaccine technology platform, the latest variant-specific vaccines could also be developed in a short period of time. This is known to be a huge advantage in the fight against highly infectious diseases.

During vaccine development, much of the concern was about vaccine efficacy, especially between the two technology platforms available (mRNA vs. live attenuated). Which vaccine development platform is the best and how are they evaluated?

With advanced vaccine development using mRNA platforms, there are currently seven different types of vaccines – each with their own advantages and disadvantages. A few types of vaccines could be very effective when specific viruses have been targeted. However, there is no clear success story between vaccine types.

About ACROBiosystems

ACROBiosystems Group, founded in 2010 and listed in 2021, is a biotechnology company aiming to be a cornerstone of the global biopharmaceutical and healthcare industries by providing innovative products and business models. The company covers the whole world and has offices, R&D centers and production bases in 12 different cities in the United States, Switzerland, England, Germany and China. The ACROBiosystems Group has established many stable and long-term partnerships with the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, Novartis and Johnson & Johnson, and many renowned academic institutes. The company includes several subsidiaries such as ACROBiosystems, bioSeedin, Condense Capital and ACRODiagnostics.

ACROBiosystems brands include FLAG, Star Staining, ViruStop, Aneuro, ComboX, GENPower and many more. Its main products and services are recombinant proteins, kits, antibodies, scientific services and other related products. ACROBiosystems uses a strict quality control system for its products which are used in biopharmaceutical research and development, production and clinical application. This includes targeted discovery and validation, drug candidate screening/optimization, CMC development and pilot production, preclinical research, clinical trials, commercial production and clinical application of companion diagnostics.

Through the continuous development of new technologies and products, ACROBiosystems Group creates value for the global pharmaceutical industry and actively empowers our partners. The company is dedicated to accelerating the drug development process, including targeted therapies, immunotherapeutic drugs and their clinical applications, and contributing to global health.

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