Do Biotechnologists Make Vaccines?

Do Biotechnologists Make Vaccines?

Vaccination is a blessing to human life. It may be the least complicated way to combat fatal diseases.

To answer the question, biotechnologists are indeed responsible for producing vaccines. They use different methods for identifying specific pathogens affecting our bodies. Then through research, they discover new means to formulate safe vaccines to inject into the human body.

However, some vaccines are said to flare up allergic reactions. This is why biotechnologists spend a huge chunk of their life researching and maintaining safety protocols for creating a single vaccine shot.

After the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccination has gained significantly more importance than ever. Now, if you are wondering how biotechnologists make vaccines, let’s dive in!

How do Biotechnologists Make Vaccines?

Biotechnologists need to observe the whole process of producing vaccines, from detecting the right pathogens to distribution in the market. Some of the steps for making vaccines are as follows

Distinguishing Pathogens

Firstly, biotechnologists spend hours in their laboratories determining pathogens. Among different methods, bacterial surveillance is the most prevalent. This technique collects clinical data from different hospitals, which are later narrowed down. The data consists of laboratory tests and observations for a specific pathogen.

After that, different biochemical exams are conducted using particular reagents to determine potential pathogens. Tests like latex agglutination tests are done to note down these pathogens into a few categories.

These experiments are carried out several times for precision as well as observed using microscopes. Finally, upon further inspection, overnight incubation helps to determine the susceptibility of these pathogens. As a result, identifying pathogens is crucial for understanding disease and developing vaccines.

Attenuating Organisms

In earlier times, vaccines consisted of living bacteria, usually the wild ones. However, those vaccines required precise regulation and triggered numerous risks in the human body. As a result, attenuated organisms began to be used to produce vaccines.

Attenuated pathogens are killing off or generally weakening the pathogens by using heat. It means that the toxicity of those organisms is highly eliminated.

These pathogens can cause the body’s immune system to create antibodies instead of generating diseases. Usually, these viruses are cultured to grow in laboratories having a lower temperature than usual.

It needs to be ensured that these organisms are weakened but, at the same time, can stimulate the immune system. In this way, attenuated pathogens can retain immunity for a long period of time.

Producing Antigens:

Antigens assist the body in stimulating its antibody production mechanism. So, after determining the correct pathogens, biotechnologists move on to antigen formulation using recombinant techniques.

As mentioned previously, attenuated pathogens are used for producing antigens. This method generates an immune response while being weakened.  

Next, by using gene cloning, subunit vaccines are produced. These vaccines carry some particular antigens derived from the pathogens. This process involves inserting a specific gene into a plasmid which is later introduced to a host cell for its purification.

Other methods include using heterologous carriers. Here, a foreign gene is inserted into the body that causes the immune system to the triggered. So, in turn, it creates antigens on its own.

Adding Adjuvant

Usually, adjuvants are included in producing vaccines for a more prominent immune response. It means that adjuvants assist vaccines in working successfully.

Adjuvants also help in maintaining long-lasting immunity at the same time. Vaccines produced from attenuated organisms can have natural adjuvants.

However, a few limitations can be subjected when it comes to using adjuvants. If a specific batch of vaccines contains a small amount of impurities, adjuvants can cause these errors to be enhanced.

As a result, the entire batch of vaccines can have the chance to become contaminated. This can flare up allergies in the human body, causing swelling in the injected area. Therefore, adjuvants are necessary for the efficacy of vaccines.

Formulating Vaccines

Biotechnologists carefully balance the concentrations of the components in the formulation of vaccines.

They use attenuation to reduce the virulence of organisms and add adjuvants for a more enhanced immune response. Finally, the mixture is thoroughly regulated for the production of vaccines.

Different trials are also done at different stages of vaccine production to maintain specific concentrations and pH levels.

Once the vaccines are ready, safety measures are taken to remove any further impurities left behind. These vaccine shots then undergo clinical trials for safety regulation.

Although it is optional, these vaccines are also tested on animals or human volunteers with their consent. The data collected is used to analyze if these vaccines can cause potential risks to human health. Therefore, safety testing is essential for reducing risks.

Distributing in the Market

When proven that these vaccines can cause no potential risks, their shelf life is determined. The vaccines are subjected to different temperatures to determine their lifespan. After that, regulatory approval is required.

Once the authorities have approved the product, these vaccines can be manufactured in huge quantities. Quality control throughout different stages of the manufacturing process is also conducted to maintain consistency.

After that, collaboration with different healthcare clinics is needed to promote vaccines. As a result, biotechnologists can reach their target audience. Finally, these vaccines can be sold to the public by locating them on the market.

Bottom Line

With these steps, biotechnologists ensure the safe manufacture of vaccines. If you have tagged along with us, you will understand the dedication of biotechnologists behind a tiny jar of vaccines. Hence, not only do they make vaccines, but they spend a huge portion of their time controlling infectious diseases.

In short, biotechnologists dedicate their lives to the betterment of mankind. From antigen selection to enhanced effectiveness and the administration of vaccines – these people do it all. Along with this, they conduct various health inspections for human safety.

This causes them to use their intellect, time, and expertise to explore different fields of science. They can also invent new vaccines to combat any emerging viral disease. Therefore, biotechnologists can be considered saviours to mankind.


Anna is an avid blogger with an educational background in medicine and mental health. She is a generalist with many other interests including nutrition, women's health, astronomy and photography. In her free time from work and writing, Anna enjoys nature walks, reading, and listening to jazz and classical music.

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