Novel Design of the RTS,S Malaria Vaccine Process Train Employing Single Use Systems; Vaccines, Politics, and Logic: Why Science Failed to Quell the Antivaccination Movement

Kleman, Davis, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Seabrook, Bryn, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Anderson, Eric, EN-Chem Engr Dept, University of Virginia

In the technical portion of my thesis, my team designed a Mosquirix vaccine pilot plant intended to provide the Mosquirix vaccine for 3,500,000 babies in Sub-Saharan Africa. This pilot plant is a part of GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) Mosquirix trial, which will provide the vaccine to seven Sub-Saharan African countries. My team assumed a 50% penetration rate, with a total annual birth rate of 7,000,000 babies in the seven countries, to arrive at an annual production rate of 3,500,000 vaccines. The manufacturing process involves fermenting Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, baker’s yeast, in a 1,000 Liter reactor. The yeast is genetically modified to overproduce a particle (RTS,S) that induces an immune response to the malaria virus, which is the active ingredient in Mosquirix. The yeast then undergoes various purification processes, such as homogenization, ultrafiltration, and chromatography, to isolate and purify the RTS,S antigen. The purified product is then filled into vials and lyophilized, or freeze dried, to ensure the antigen lasts long enough to be administered.

In my STS research paper, I determined and analyzed many of the reasons why people may be opposed to vaccination, and determined if the outpouring of scientific literature refuting the connection between the MMR vaccine and autism was effective at convincing people that vaccines were safe. I determined that the scientific papers refuting the connection between the MMR vaccine and autism were not the most effective method in persuading people of the safety of vaccines. People have many other reasons for avoiding vaccines, such as political or religious reasons. Many people also fall victim to a number of logical fallacies, such as omission bias, the anecdotal fallacy, and confirmation bias. My research indicated that other methods besides publishing scientific literature must be done to curb the antivaccination movement.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Malaria, Vaccine, Vaccination, Antivaccination, Political Technologies, Technological Fix, RTS,S

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering
Technical Advisor: Eric Anderson
STS Advisor: Bryn Seabrook
Technical Team Members: Madeline Clore, Richard Dazzo, Nushaba Rashid

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