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Anchor lead: How are today’s efforts at developing a vaccine for COVID-19 different? Elizabeth Tracey reports
Flu vaccines take several months to produce, and that’s because they’re mostly made using a chicken egg as a place for the virus to multiply, then the vaccine must be purified and packaged. COVID-19 vaccines are being developed using an entirely different process, says Andrew Pekosz, a vaccine expert at Johns Hopkins.
Pekosz: There really has been a push to develop what’s called vaccine platforms. Those are basically ways that you can express viral proteins that can generate immune responses and it’s sort of a plug and play version. The vaccine platform doesn’t care what sort of viral protein you put in, it’s just been optimized to make sure that whatever you put into it is expressed at a high level and generates these antibody responses. What you’re seeing now is the fruits that we’re reaping from that basic science investment. :28
Pekosz says that while the process should take much less time to produce a vaccine against Sars-CoV2, ramping up to make sufficient doses is still a challenge. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.