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Vaccines preserved at room temperature

Eduardo Cesar Low-cost additives such as sugar could increase the longevity of immunizing agentsEduardo Cesar

A team of researchers from Europe and the United States has identified three inexpensive, easily obtainable chemical compounds that could be added to vaccines to increase the stability of their components, and consequently their shelf life, even when stored at relatively high room temperature. These additives could be useful for increasing vaccine longevity, especially for those containing attenuated, inactive or genetically altered viruses. Many currently available immunizing agents use a virus and must be stored at low temperatures, which hinders distribution to places that are far away or that have weak infrastructure. In the tests, the scientists added gold nanoparticles, polyethylene glycol polymer or ordinary sugar to a formulation containing adenovirus type 5, which is associated with respiratory infections and is used to introduce different antigens into some vaccines. In different concentrations, the compounds maintained the stability of the virus for days or weeks at 25 and 37 degrees Celsius. The additives also preserved the stability of a formulation containing a candidate adenovirus for a chikungunya fever vaccine, for up to 10 days (Nature Communications, November 30, 2016).