Our collaborative paper, led by the Jewett Lab, is featured by Northwestern News!

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By cracking open a cellular membrane, Northwestern University synthetic biologists have discovered a new way to increase production yields of protein-based vaccines by five-fold, significantly broadening access to potentially lifesaving medicines.

In February, the researchers introduced a new biomanufacturing platform that can quickly make shelf-stable vaccines at the point of care, ensuring they will not go to waste due to errors in transportation or storage. In its new study, the team discovered that enriching cell-free extracts with cellular membranes — the components needed to made conjugate vaccines — vastly increased yields of its freeze-dried platform.

The work sets the stage to rapidly make medicines that address rising antibiotic-resistant bacteria as well as new viruses at 40,000 doses per liter per day, costing about $1 per dose. At that rate, the team could use a 1,000-liter reactor (about the size of a large garden waste bag) to generate 40 million doses per day, reaching 1 billion doses in less than a month.

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