Live viral vaccines
Vaccines for viral diseases are made in different ways. They may contain:
- live, attenuated viruses that have been weakened or altered so they can no longer cause illness
- inactivated or killed viruses
- segments of the virus – so-called sub-unit vaccines
The groups, led by Silke Schepelmann and Nicola Rose, study live, attenuated vaccines, and these can be made in different ways.
Commonly, the virus is grown sequentially (passaged) many times in cell culture or in animals. With each passage the virus becomes better at growing in the cells but gradually loses its ability to grow in human cells. A vaccine virus may have been passaged this way several hundred times. Once the virus cannot replicate well – or at all – in human cells it may be considered as a candidate vaccine for that virus.
The vaccine can induce an immune response like that on exposure to the virus itself – but without causing illness.
We undertake control testing, generation of standard (reference) materials and have research projects to support these functions.