vacunaThe recombinant vaccines allow expressing viral antigens, through the construction of elements formed by proteins that has no genetic material and cannot replicate themselves (artificial viruses); allowing their usage as completely safe vaccines.

Dr. Laura Palomares Aguilera, researcher at the Department of Molecular Medicine and Bioprocesses in the Institute of Biotechnology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and her team of researchers are dedicated to develop innovative processes to produce such vaccines; as well as new nanobiomaterials to benefit human beings and their environment.

The biochemical engineering specialist develops processes for the production of vaccines against human and animal influenza; particularly against bovine rotavirus, which has had a major technology impact. These vaccines protect animals from acquiring diseases or lose body weight, avoiding economic losses in the livestock sector.

The relationship between science and industry is increasingly necessary, principally in the generation of value-added products, such as these recombinant viral vaccines. They have advantages over traditional vaccines; mainly, production cost reduction, creation of new security measures and proper management of the strains, said Dr. Palomares.

According with Dr. Palomares, in 2009 Mexico experienced the consequences a non-controlled viral disease — H1N1 Flu virus — and their poor capacity for timely response to such epidemics. That year’s economic losses were higher than those occurred by the 1985 earthquake.

The researcher says that not having this response capacity has implications in all areas, mainly on the population’s health. Hence marketing these vaccines is increasingly necessary. The required next step to do so is having public and private investment, so that this type of biotechnology can start generating revenue for the country.

The doctor, who this year joined the Mexican Academy of Sciences, also works with vectors (very small elements that transport drugs to different regions of the body) for gene therapy, which have applications in the treatment of chronic diseases associated with metabolism.

Also, the laboratory is involved in the development of new nanobiomaterials, which applications as catalysts allow more efficient chemical reactions. These materials are self-assembly structures, made by integrating proteins with metals like gold, silver, palladium, platinum, cobalt and copper. The advantage of these nanobiomaterials over conventional catalysts is that they can be produced without extreme pressure and at room temperature.

The researcher also collaborates with the University of Tampere in Finland — where the vaccine is evaluated against rotavirus— and also with groups in Brazil and Australia.

Through: Agencia ID