A team of four research scientists from Utah State University completed training programs in Indonesia and Vietnam in September 2012. Visits were conducted on-site at established vaccine manufacturing facilities in each country. The training followed two years of influenza vaccine manufacturing workshops hosted by USU’s Center for Integrated BioSystems.
Faculty members Kamal Rashid, Bart Tarbet and James Dorward, and biological engineer Shaun Barnett made up the team that visited manufacturing facilities Biofarma in Indonesia and Vabiotech in Vietnam.
“We were impressed with the high quality work being conducted at these established facilities,” said Rashid, project director. “Our task in visiting was to help these facilities improve upon their cell culture scale-up and flu vaccine purification capabilities.”
The Center for Integrated BioSystems has been awarded $520,000 for a future workshop at USU and two more on-site training programs in 2013. With this addition, USU has received $1.3 million for the project to date.
Funding for the program was received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). BARDA works in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO) to bring vaccine manufacturing training to developing countries. Both Biofarma and Vabiotech companies were selected for the on-site-training programs by BARDA.
“Our continuing relationship with BARDA demonstrates our commitment to national and international biotechnology training and improving world health,” said Kenneth White, interim director of the Center for Integrated BioSystems.
Rashid noted that national industry leaders New Brunswick Scientific and Thermo Fisher Scientific supported training by sending resources, including equipment and staff to each training location.
“Their participation was critical for the success of both programs” said Rashid.
“This was an opportunity to take our training program to the locations where it is needed most and can have the greatest impact,” said Tarbet, project co-director. “We were also able to tour the vaccine production facilities to determine how we can focus future training to meet the needs of specific vaccine manufacturers.”
Dorward, associate dean in the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services at USU, said that purpose of the visits was to address the needs unique to each production facility and identify challenges faced at each location.
“One of the things that I was most impressed with was the high level of commitment and interest that participants in both countries demonstrated for learning about state-of-the-art vaccine production techniques and technologies,” said Dorward. “You could really see how the training was going to make a difference in career paths of the scientists and the lives of the citizens.”
Ongoing training involves collaboration between USU’s College of Agriculture and the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services. Participating departments include the Center for Integrated BioSystems and the Institute for Antiviral Research in the Department of Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences.
BARDA / WHO funding supports ongoing training of scientists from developing countries conducted by research faculty at USU’s Center for Integrated BioSystems. Participants in upcoming sessions will attend a three-week vaccine manufacturing training course held on the Logan campus.
Writer: Jeannine Huenemann, (435) 797-8274, firstname.lastname@example.org