How Bioprocess Engineering is Saving Lives in The War Against COVID-19?
The biopharma sector has shown its resilience in the past year. At the helm of the commitment is a combined effort of engineering and biopharma in the form of bioprocess engineering, which is saving countless lives in the war against COVID-19.
What is Bioprocess Engineering
Bioprocess Engineering utilises living cells, or their components, to produce desired products by subjecting them to mechanical and chemical processes. The field entails the sciences of cellular biology, genetics, biochemistry, chemical engineering, pharmacology, material sciences, and human physiology all-in-one.
Bioprocess Engineering vs COVID-19
Bioprocess and biosystem engineering is essential to almost every industry that relies on biological products, especially the biopharma sector. In the wake of COVID-19, more specifically SARS-CoV-2, scientists have utilised this technology to seek a cure for the virus. They have been inducing the production of antibodies in the human body either naturally, using vaccines, or through an industrial process called Monoclonal Antibody Formation – both results of bioprocess engineering.
The 5 platforms engaged in vaccine production
At least nine COVID-19 vaccines are presently being administered to people around the globe, with another set to hit the Indian market. There are five technologies involved in global vaccine production.
Viral Vector Vaccines: Oxford-AstraZeneca, Gamaleya Institute, J&J
These vaccines seek to introduce key pieces of the COVID-19 virus, embedded within a harmless virus, into the human body to encourage the immune system to fight.
Attenuated Vaccines: Bharat Biotech, Sinopharm, Sinovac
These administer an inactivated form of the virus triggering the immune system and generating memory cells to respond, in case of an actual infection.
mRNA Vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna
Each of these use messenger RNA to convey copies of genes for the making of the spike proteins that characterise the coronavirus, instead of introducing actual pieces of the virus.
Protein Subunit Vaccine: Novavax
It involves producing a living machine to pump out copies of coronavirus protein through genetic engineering. The suspended virus protein is then administered into the body.
DNA Vaccine: Zydus Cadila
RNA is used to synthesize the DNA of the virus which is then cultured in E Coli bacteria and purified to produce the DNA vaccine. DNA vaccines are yet to be approved for human use; Zydus Cadila's would be the first.
With the biopharma sector in constant need of smart technological support systems and solutions, companies like DDE play an integral role.
DDE is ideally placed to handle all-around functions of a COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing unit and its components. It caters to vaccine and monoclonal antibody production, assisting in the designing and engineering of plants for manufacturing bio-engineered products, along with their installation and validation requirements, as per US FDA standards.