Eddie’s Alumnus develops oral vaccine
Dr. Abhinaba Ghosh is a research scientist at the University of London, following the completion of his PhD in 2017. He has been involved in challenging project of developing multivalent spore-based vaccine for a range of diseases.
Antigens of the disease-causing bacteria are being expressed on the surface of non-pathogenic Bacillus spores and administered orally to the patients. Spores of Bacillus are highly dormant structures that are metabolically inactive but viable for hundreds of years without the need of refrigeration. Thus, the antigens naturally expressed on the surface of these spores by genetic manipulation do not need refrigeration (unlike the current conventional vaccines) and can be transported at an ease with an increased shelf life. As more than one antigen is expressed on the surface of the same spore, expression of multiple antigens could result in the production of a single vaccine efficient against more than one disease.
This research can be a boon in developing countries where continuous electricity supply for transport and storage of the vaccines could be a problem. The first strain of oral vaccines has shown satisfactory result in animal model and have been sent to the US for clinical trail. Further due to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulations which restricts the release of Genetically Modified Microorganisms (GMOs), the oral vaccine strain has been genetically manipulated in such a way that the absolute requirement of an absolute key chemical substance would result in the death of the spore when released in the environment due to starvation.
Dr. Ghosh is currently screening a range of antigens from different disease-causing microorganisms with an aim to broaden the scope of such oral vaccines against a large range of diseases.
About his time at St Edmund’s, Abhinaba says “I am always grateful to St. Edmund’s College for being extremely supportive throughout my crucial days of PhD in Cambridge“.
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