Currently, the global demand for vaccines is rapidly expanding. Many new viruses, such as COVID-19 and Ebola, have led to a sharp increase in demand for vaccines, as well as strong pressure to shorten development time and reduce costs.
Vaccines are biological preparations made of bacteria, viruses, tumor cells, etc. that can make the body produce specific immunity. Early vaccines used weakened or killed microbial forms, but now recombinant or synthetic techniques are used to deliver fragments, such as surface proteins or synthetic peptides from viral DNA. The above methods require a lot of supporting studies, such as developing large-scale biological agents and delivering them to the target site.
Microfluidic methods can help in these areas. Alfa Chemistry also works hard to develop solutions to support researchers in conducting microfluidic experiments under good conditions.
Microfluidics in Vaccine Development
Microfluidics technology can be used in all stages of the development and production of vaccines, from disease analysis to optimization of production schemes; from high-throughput screening of antibodies to vaccine encapsulation; from the development of adjuvants to the orientation of yeast and bacteria used in vaccine biomanufacturing evolution.
Figure.1 Single-Virus Droplet Microfluidics for High-Throughput Screening of Neutralizing Epitopes on HIV Particles. (Chaipan C, et al. 2017)
Examples of current applications of microfluidics in vaccine development include:
- Directed evolution of plasmid bacterial strains
DNA vaccines deliver selected viral genes to patients to trigger an immune response and insert them into bacterial plasmids to produce recombinant DNA. Through directed evolution, bacterial strains producing host plasmids can be selected and improved. Microfluidic technology can individually encapsulate bacteria in droplets, and perform performance sorting by FACS to select the best strains.
- Directed evolution of the best strains of yeast/bacteria
The selected recombinant DNA must be produced on a large scale for use in vaccines, which is usually achieved by the biological fermentation of yeast or bacterial cells to be transfected with recombinant plasmids. Directed evolution is usually used to enhance the performance of this stage, and the microfluidic droplet method is again suitable for this method.
- High-throughput screening
In vaccine development, screening is required to identify which antigens produced from target genes or other biological fragments trigger the most effective immune response. The combination of droplet-based microfluidic technology and next-generation sequencing technology can screen virus particles in a high-throughput manner.
- Adjuvant formulation production
In vaccine development, adjuvants are used to amplify the receptor's specific immune response against pathogen infection. Microfluidic nanoparticle generation chips can be used to create and optimize novel adjuvants such as saponin and ISCOM.
- Development and production of vaccine delivery particles
Vaccines are usually encapsulated in nanoparticles to improve delivery efficiency and allow targeted release sites. Lipid nanoparticles (LNP) and liposomes are common sealants that can be produced with high throughput and high efficiency using microfluidic methods.
- In vitro cell analysis
Microfluidic technology can provide unique functions to control the cell microenvironment and present mechanical and biochemical signals to cells in a more physiologically relevant environment. Microfluidic chips provide an ideal microenvironment for studying molecular and cell-scale activities.
- Human in vitro model
Organs on a chip are very promising in vitro human model tools and are complex. Alfa Chemistry can propose an organ-on-chip platform to reconstruct human mucosal models and test new vaccines, and provide a powerful solution for your organ-on-chip devices and the injection of complex media and drug sequences.
What Can Alfa Chemistry Do for You?
We provide you with various microfluidic solutions for vaccine research and development, such as microfluidic devices for high-throughput cell encapsulation, liposome generation chips, nanoparticle generation chips, organ-on-a-chip platform for simulating human mucosa and testing new vaccines, etc. We are also very happy to work with you to design and develop new microfluidic devices for vaccine research.
Please contact us for more information.
- Chaipan C, et al. (2017). "Single-Virus Droplet Microfluidics for High-Throughput Screening of Neutralizing Epitopes on HIV Particles." Cell Chemical Biology. 24(6): 751-757.
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