Cell culture is a versatile tool to study the cells’ normal physiology and biochemistry, mechanisms underlying disease, including cancer, and effects produced by drugs and toxic compounds. Cultured cells are helpful hosts for propagating many types of viruses. Cell culture systems’ ability to produce large amounts of attenuated viral particles serves as the foundation for developing human and veterinary vaccines. Therefore, cell culture has been, is, and will continue to be one of the pillars of vaccine production.
MB INC, providing laboratory tools and equipment like T175 flasks (cell culture flasks), storage bottles, and filter tips, presents this blog to let you know the part of cell culture in vaccine production. We will also highlight the types and developments of vaccines. Keep reading!
Cell culture and the vaccine production
Vaccines are produced to generate immunity against disease by stimulating the antibodies’ production. To date, hundreds of vaccines have been developed for both human and other animal diseases. Animal vaccination is crucial in the livestock industry.
Before knowing the contributing role of cell culture in vaccine production, look at the following categories and development of vaccines:
Vaccine categories and developments
Vaccines have different types. Traditionally, there has been talk of live vaccines and inactivated vaccines.
- Live vaccine: A live vaccine assists your immune system in recognizing and fighting infections caused by the non-weakened form of the virus. The chickenpox and MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccines are examples of live vaccines.
- Inactivated vaccine: In an inactivated vaccine, the virus is inactivated during the vaccine-making process. Unlike live vaccines, antibodies in the host body strongly influence inactivated vaccines. These vaccines include hepatitis A, inactivated poliovirus (IPV), rabies, and whole-cell pertussis (whooping cough).
- Toxoid vaccine: Toxoid vaccines have also been in development for decades. Toxoid vaccines use a harmful product called a toxin made by the germ that causes a disease. This vaccine does not contain the virus itself, but rather a toxin produced by the disease-causing virus is inoculated. These vaccines immunize against the effect produced by the infection and not the infection itself. This suggests the immune response is targeted to the toxin instead of the whole germ. Diphtheria and tetanus vaccines are two prominent examples of this category.
In addition to the traditional classification of live and inactivated vaccines, and toxoid vaccines, several vaccines have been developed in recent decades. Examples include viral vector-based vaccines and RNA and DNA vaccines, such as those developed and approved for SARS-cov2 (producing Covid-19).
Cell culture-based vaccines
Cell culture has been essential in the history of making vaccines, especially viral ones. The rubella vaccine was the first one created from human cell strains. Stanley Plotkin of the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia was its discoverer. In the mid-1960s, Plotkin estimated that congenital rubella syndrome affected 1% of all births at Philadelphia General Hospital. In some cases, pregnant women infected with rubella terminate their pregnancy. And after such an abortion, they sent the fetus to the laboratory Plotkin had designated to investigate rubella. Plotkin then tested the fetus’ kidney and found and isolated the rubella virus.
Leonard Hayflick (Associate Member of the Wistar Institute at the time) developed a cell strain using lung cells from an aborted fetus. Many viruses, including rubella, grew well in the resulting free-contaminants cell line. The line was named WI-38.
Currently, more than 50 cell culture-based human vaccines are produced, and others are in the experimental development stages. The example of the flu virus, the influenza virus, is especially relevant. Traditionally, inoculating fertilized chicken eggs is the method to obtain it. However, possible limitations in the number of eggs available and other considerations have meant much effort has been made in recent decades to develop an influenza vaccine in a cell culture-based system.
Cell culture in the vaccine production
We have to be able to find a cell line, which meets a series of requirements, to produce vaccines in cell cultures:
- Be able to be infected with the virus of interest.
- Fast growth, keeping its characteristics intact and without suffering alterations with successive passes.
- Be capable of being scaled for industrial production in bioreactors.
- Prove safe, free of other pathogens, etc.
New nucleic acid-based vaccine technologies hold great promise and have advantages over those produced in cell culture. However, we will still use cell culture for decades to safely and efficiently make vaccines for clinical and industrial use.
In addition, cell cultures will also be necessary for the development and approval of antigen-presenting cell (APC) vaccines. This new development will mark another milestone in the vaccination development history for both diseases existing today and those that will appear in the future.
We hope this blog will help you know the types and development of vaccines and the contribution of cell culture to vaccine production. We will appropriate you if you share this information with your social circle.
And if you have a lab or are a researcher and often need high-quality lab tools and equipment like cell culture flasks or Tecan 1000ul conductive filter tips, MBP Inc. is always within your reach. Contact us today for quality pipette tips, PCR products, and other lab consumables!