By Amélie Boulais and Piergiuseppe Nestola, Sartorius Stedim
As the world continues to reel from the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic, health experts around the world are trying to identify a potential vaccine that can combat the international threat before a second wave of the virus inevitably hits. This process traditionally requires years or even decades to not only develop the drug but also move it through the clinical trial phases necessary to ensure it is safe and effective. However, the pharmaceutical industry is facing unprecedented expectations to accelerate the delivery of a vaccine for COVID-19 in the face of a death toll that is rising daily.
One technology some companies were investigating even before COVID-19 is mRNA (messenger RNA)-based vaccines. Due to several benefits, including the ability to quickly scale up in the case of a large disease outbreak, mRNA has the potential to revolutionize the field of vaccine development. Going from a niche corner of the market to an innovative disruption, though, requires a better understanding of how the manufacturing process for mRNA vaccines differs from traditional vaccines, what challenges exist, and any other factors that could impact the successful entry of mRNA vaccines into today’s market.