Othmar Engelhardt, Principal Scientist, Division of Virology, National Institute for Biologicals Standards and Control joined us last December (2011) at the World Influenza Congress in Vienna to talk about putting the spotlight on the vaccine lifecycle.
Othmar shared a very interesting chart summarizing the Calendar of seasonal vaccine production (in the northern hemisphere) pointing out the challenges faced by vaccine manufacturers and how to speed up the process ensuring at the same time high quality.
He touches upon the very important topic of standardisation and control testing of influenza vaccines pointing out that:
- Immunodiffusion test recommended by WHO in 1979
- Single radial immunodiffusion (SRD) test in use for several decades
- Overall, influenza vaccines have performed well
- SRD requires strain-specific reagents:
- Calibrated reference antigen
- Concerns raised:
-Dependence on reagents
Finally Othmar does share his knowledge about new potency assays that are being developed around the world and stresses the importance of coordination and data sharing required to move the field forward.
To find out more, download Othmar's presentation here.
Are you working in the Flu vaccine development field? Are you facing the same challenges in the vaccine cycle?
Share your thoughts with us below in the comment box.