During vaccine production, viruses in the precursor solution are killed so that they cannot harm the patient. This is usually done using toxic chemicals. Fraunhofer researchers have taken a different approach and are irradiating the pathogens with electrons. There are several advantages to the new method. No toxic waste is produced. In addition, the pathogens are inactivated more quickly and with fewer molecular changes to the capsid (virus envelope), resulting in greater vaccine specificity. The advantages of vaccines produced in this manner are that they do not require the use of chemicals, the production processes are faster, and that considerably smaller quantities of vaccine can be administered.
- In many traditionally produced vaccines, formaldehyde is employed to kill the viruses, but this also alters components of the virus important for the vaccine.
- Researchers from four Fraunhofer Institutes have developed a new method that simplifies the inactivation of pathogens: irradiation with electrons.
- In addition to studies on technological feasibility, the FEP also supports the effort through its expertise in systems and beam development
- The research activities are being supported by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.