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USU Receives Grant to Build Global Flu Vaccine Manufacturing Capacity

Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010

USU faculty Bart tarbet and Kamal Rashid
USU faculty members Bart Tarbet and Kamal Rashid received a grant from BARDA to train manufacturers from developing countries on vaccine production over the next five years. Photo by Gary Neuenswander.
Utah State University’s Center for Integrated BioSystems is one of two academic centers in the United States that will provide cutting-edge training on manufacturing techniques in hopes of reducing the global threat from influenza.
An initial grant award of $322,000 is the first installment with continued funding potentially valued at $2.6 million over five years.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority awarded a grant to USU’s CIB and Institute for Antiviral Research to train vaccine manufacturing personnel from developing countries. The grant is part of the World Health Organizations’ effort to strengthen the ability of developing countries to produce flu vaccines.
“Diseases do not respect borders so increasing the ability to make flu vaccine in any country helps every country reduce the spread of flu,” said Robin Robinson, BARDA director.
Two USU faculty members, Kamal Rashid and Bart Tarbet, will combine their expertise in bioprocess/biotechnology education and vaccine development/biomanufacturing to develop short courses that teach vaccine production, purification and scale-up strategies to institutions in countries supported by the BARDA/WHO initiative.
“Our bioprocessing and biomanufacturing facilities and equipment were a major factor in the selection of CIB for the award,” said Kamal Rashid, project director. “This recognition will be a significant boost to our international programs at USU, and it will enhance our existing efforts.”
Trainees from Egypt, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Romania, Serbia and Thailand will be among the countries that receive hands-on instruction in the latest bio-manufacturing practices used for influenza vaccine production. These skills can then be taken back and implemented by manufacturers in their native countries.
“This collaboration will provide a unique training program that includes all aspects of influenza virus vaccine biomanufacturing,” said Bart Tarbet, co-project director. He is excited to combine Kamal’s 20 years of bioprocess and biotechnology education experience with his 12 years of industry experience in vaccine research.
“I am very pleased that the CIB can play a significant role in such important work,” said Noelle Cockett, dean of USU’s College of Agriculture. “The BARDA grant awarded to the CIB will create an opportunity for USU to train people in vaccine production. Clearly, the outcome of this training program will have a substantial impact on the health of people across the world.”
USU’s Center for Integrated BioSystems leads a progressive, interdisciplinary effort in research, core laboratory facilities and educational programs serving agricultural life and engineering sciences professionals. The center is a consortium of faculty and technical talent, housed in a state-of-the-art facility on USU campus. The center trains and collaborates with scientists in academic, industrial and government laboratories both nationally and internationally.
The Institute for Antiviral Research at USU is comprised of a recognized team of scientists who work together on research oriented toward the control of viral diseases. The group is supported by several government agencies in addition to offering antiviral testing services for private industry.
This training grant involves collaboration between the Center for Integrated BioSystems and the Institute for Antiviral Research in the Department of Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences, both part of USU’s College of Agriculture.
Related links
Contact: Kamal A. Rashid, (435) 797-2739, kamal.rashid@usu.edu
Contact: E. Bart Tarbet, (435) 797-3954, bart.tarbet@usu.edu
Writer: Jeannine Huenemann, (435) 797-8274, jeannine.huenemann@usu.edu

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