An application led by the Jenner Institute for a new Vaccines Manufacturing Innovation Centre has been awarded £66 million through the UK government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). The UK’s first-ever dedicated Vaccines Manufacturing Innovation Centre will create cost-effective ways of developing and manufacturing vaccines for global distribution, as well as ensuring the UK’s preparedness in the event of pandemics of infectious diseases such as Ebola and Lassa. The centre is expected to open in 2022, with the first products from the centre expected later that year. The centre will be built in Oxford, creating more than 50 jobs in the local area.
The Medical Sciences Divisional Panel has conferred the title of Professor on Associate Professor Simon Draper and the title of Associate Professor on Dr Teresa Lambe, Dr George Warimwe and Dr David Wyllie. They have all been awarded these titles in recognition of their distinction in their respective fields and contributions to the research, teaching and administration of the Department and we congratulate them on their success.
The malaria parasite is a shape-shifter, changing its surface coat to escape destruction by the human body. This depends upon a malaria protein called RH5 binding to a human protein called basigin on the surface of red blood cells. Unlike the other variable malaria surface proteins, RH5 does not vary, making it more easily recognised and destroyed. Jenner Investigators Sumi Biswas and Simon Draper have immunised human volunteers with RH5. Antibodies isolated from these volunteers prevent the parasite from invading red blood cells. At the RS Summer Science Exhibition they will show the public how it works, using games to detect the unchanging elements in a shape-shifting parasite, 3D models demonstrating of RH5 binding to basigin and antibodies and interactive maps to see the impact of vaccines on global health.
Nucleic acids are one of the most fundamental units of biological research. The genes coded for in DNA or RNA are integral to many research projects. Many bench methods exist for extraction of nucleic acids, but all are labour intensive and can be technically demanding. New automated solutions allow for high quality extraction of DNA or RNA, with the ability to process up to 96 samples at a time and minimal hands on time. The Jenner Institute have now launched a new Small Research Facility with the Qiagen QiaSymphony SP and Agilent Tapestation 2200 for the use of Jenner Investigators and other Oxford University researchers and external collaborators.
Jenner researcher Dr Teresa Lambe has joined the University's new Innovation Champions initiative. As a Champion, Teresa will help improve the landscape for innovation and entrepreneurial activities within the Medical Sciences Division. Champions act as a first point of contact for colleagues interested in commercialising their ideas or expertise, or developing links with industry, whether through consulting or research collaboration.
We were all very saddened to hear the news that Bonnie Mathieson passed away on January 8th 2018. Bonnie made many contributions to vaccine research and especially to HIV vaccine development, and served as a member of the Jenner Institute’s Scientific Advisory Board.
Researchers are seeking about 500 NHS patients to try out a new "universal" vaccine against seasonal flu. The experimental vaccine works differently from the one currently available, which has to be remade each year based on a "best guess" of what type of flu is likely to be about.
The new jab targets part of the virus that does not change each year. This means the vaccine should work against human, bird and swine flu, say the team from the University of Oxford led by Prof Sarah Gilbert, Jenner Investigator.
‘We started the first trial in 2002 and we finished the efficacy trial in 2013.’ Nine years of trials. That was on top of the time taken to develop the thing in the first place. That’s a long time. For Le Mans, the MdS and the Vendee Globe, the finish line is known, fixed; for vaccines, new data may move the finish line at any time. Vaccine development may not be as physically demanding, but to keep plugging away for twenty years surely requires mental resilience.
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