Vaccines are essential for public health, especially during disease outbreaks. But as COVID-19 shows, centralized manufacturing systems struggle to ensure equitable access to jobs when demand suddenly increases.
Localizing production using modular facilities is a potential solution, says Dr. Seyed Soheil Mansouri, associate professor of biochemical engineering at the Technical University of Denmark. study.
“The idea was to explore the intersection of centralized and decentralized production of biopharmaceuticals, with a development goal for equal access to healthcare around the world,” he says. generation“The key finding is that modular units, when properly realized, can be versatile, especially in times of pandemics and large-scale disease outbreaks, for a variety of biopharmaceuticals that are critical to sustaining the well-being of societies and human societies.” It gives us flexible manufacturing options.”
In addition to establishing factors that limit access to vaccines, Mansouri and colleagues also developed the idea of a modular facility known as a mobile-on-demand (MOD) production system. “We designed two MOD vaccine production units based on yeast-expressed protein antigens and in vitro transcription of mRNA,” he adds.
Each unit, housed in a space about the size of two shipping containers, can produce 10,000 doses of vaccine per day for regional distribution. The goal is to use the system to manufacture vaccines at competitive prices and close to the end user. And, according to Mansouri, from a public health perspective, such ambitions are worth the initial investment.
“Giving up economies of scale could lead to modest increases in production costs, which may be outweighed by reduced dose waste in closed vials and early protection of vulnerable populations,” he explained. “What we propose here is the feasibility of modular vaccine production and the conceptual process design of how it can be achieved. Daily production operations, automation, IoT, collaborative robots, AI, processes. Work needs to be done on the introduction of advanced technologies such as hardening.”
This paper provided a proof of concept using COVID-19 as a model. However, the approach could be easily adapted to produce other vaccines and biopharmaceuticals, according to the authors.
For Mansouri, modular production technology has the potential to significantly increase access to vaccines and medicines, especially if public health authorities and international organizations support its development.
“Our target users are governments, humanitarian organizations and local stakeholders in developing countries,” he said. “Research is currently at the concept stage to demonstrate the viability of such a unit. An international scale effort is needed to bring such a concept to life.”