Intel ISEF 2013 Finalist Profile

ME068 (Sorayya)
Designing a Novel Freeze-Stable Tetanus Vaccine
Aryo Sorayya
Monte Vista High School, Danville, CA

Freeze-sensitive vaccines represent over 50% of the $749 million UNICEF spent on all vaccines in 2010, and with rate of exposure to freezing temperatures in developed and developing countries at 13.5% and 21.9%, respectively, millions of lives and dollars are lost every year. In this work, a novel liposomal adjuvant consisting of a specific lipid composition was tested for developing a freeze-stable Tetanus vaccine using Tetanus Light Chain (TLC) as an antigen. Furthermore, the influence of particle charge on the efficacy of the adjuvant was explored. The effects of multiple freeze-thaw cycles and lyophilization at -45 oC on the stability and immunogenicity of the liposomal vaccines were compared in mice. As control, a TLC solution without an adjuvant was used. The Tetanus toxoid antibodies (IgG) in the mice sera were measured by an Indirect ELISA, and a t-test was used to determine if there was a significant difference in immune response before and after lyophilization of the liposomes. Both the liquid and lyophilized liposomal vaccines gave a significant immunogenic response in mice greater than that of the Tetanus solution without adjuvant. The positively charged liposomes gave the strongest immune response, with a 9-fold increase from that of the negatively charged liposomes. There was no significant difference in immune response of liposomal vaccines before and after lyophilization (p > 0.05). These vaccines did not lose their immunogenic activity despite freezing at -45 oC and might thus be used as alternatives to the current freeze-sensitive Tetanus vaccines in the market. Such liposomes offer a novel approach for improving current vaccines, reducing the risks associated with accidental freezing, lowering costs, and ultimately saving more lives.

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