Virus research needs can be seasonal or triggered by a specific biological event, similar to the SARS CoV-2 (COVID-19) crisis that began in Wuhan, China in 2019. The rapid development and deployment of a vaccine is critical to protect populations from further spread of a pathogen and to prevent a new global crisis.

Thermo Fisher Scientific offers a comprehensive suite of vaccine development and production solutions. These solutions enable you to discover, develop, test, and potentially produce new vaccines.

Vaccine research

Viral nucleic acid isolation for SARS-CoV-2 research

SARS-CoV-2 RNA can be purified quickly and efficiently from samples using the MagMAX Viral/Pathogen Nucleic Acid Isolation Kit. Visit our SARS-CoV-2 epidemiological research page to learn more about our viral nucleic acid isolation products  for SARS CoV-2 research,  including our KingFisher systems for high-throughput nucleic acid isolation.

End-to-end immunology solutions for vaccine research with Ion Torrent NGS

Deeper understanding of the adaptive immune system powers better insights into its role in vaccine research including immune response and efficacy. The Ion Torrent immunology research portfolio enables a multi-dimensional research approach to repertoire sequencing and immune response. Each targeted next-generation sequencing (NGS) assay is powered by the accuracy and sensitivity of Ion Torrent technology to help discover more from within precious samples.

For human research studies:

  • TCR beta assays for deeper insights in clonality and convergence
  • BCR IgH assays to quantify somatic hypermutations and study isotypes
  • Immune response assay to detect low expression genes

Rely on trusted bioprocessing solutions that enable timely vaccine development and production.

Additionally, factors like gene expression and microbiota influence immune responses to vaccines. Transcriptome analysis and analysis of the human microbiome are also enabled through Ion Torrent NGS.
Bioprocessing solutions ›         Transcriptome analysis ›         Human microbiome ›

The Ion GeneStudio S5 System is a scalable, targeted-NGS workhorse with wide research application breadth and throughput capability and is compatible with our complete portfolio of immune response assays.
Learn more about the Ion GeneStudio S5 System ›

Invitrogen SuperScript reverse transcriptases were developed for improved thermostability, processivity, and cDNA yields to enable performance with even the most challenging RNA samples. With over 50,000 citations, reviews, and publications, SuperScript reverse transcriptases are proven to be a superior choice for those in vaccine development.

See what other reseachers are saying at thermofisher.com/ssiv.

Hypothesis-free target identification and evaluation of host gene expression is achieved with higher accuracy, in less time, using Invitrogen Collibri Library Prep Kits for Illumina systems.

The Invitrogen Qubit 4 Fluorometer enables accurate quantification and proper quality check of next-generation sequencing libraries, which is key to a successful sequencing run.

GeneArt Gene Synthesis is a cost-effective method for obtaining customized DNA constructs that are 100% sequence accurate, allowing you to free up time and resources. The GeneOptimizer algorithm determines the optimal gene sequence for your expression system as part of a real multi-parametric approach that significantly increases protein yield via a combination of factors that stabilize mRNA and maximize translation efficacy.

Recent publications utilizing GeneArt Gene Synthesis Services:

Find out more at thermofisher.com/genesynthesis.

In vitro transcription Posttranscriptional modification Template degradation
T7 RNA polymerase, TheraPure-grade Capping enzymes, TheraPure-grade DNase I, TheraPure-grade
RNase inhibitor, TheraPure-grade 2’–O-methyltransferase, TheraPure-grade
Inorganic Pyrophosphatase, TheraPure-grade Poly(A) polymerase, TheraPure-grade
ATP, GTP, CTP and UTP, TheraPure-grade
Modified nucleotides, TheraPure-grade
ARCA (anti-reverse cap analog)

Learn more about our mRNA-based therapeutics workflow solution ›

GeneArt Gene-to-Protein

The full portfolio of Thermo Fisher Scientific, from GeneArt gene synthesis to optimized eukaryotic/mammalian expression systems, offers researchers the unique opportunity to perfect their gene expression results. Our proprietary sequence optimization algorithm (Invitrogen GeneArt GeneOptimizer technology) enhances the sequence through a parallel multi-parameter approach. To further maximize protein yield, you can choose from our best serum-free Gibco Expi293, Gibco ExpiCHO, and insect expression systems.

This holistic approach, from electronic gene sequence or accession number to the purified protein, is an efficient way to exploit your gene-to-protein workflow for high performance, either by purchasing reagents for internal work or outsourcing the entire workflow as a highly customized service to the GeneArt protein team. This procedure is ideal for rapid protein production early on during drug development and is highly advantageous to minimize changes in protein quality/function observed when moving from R&D to bioproduction.

Find out more at thermofisher.com/genetoprotein.

QuantiGene gene expression assays are based on branched DNA (bDNA) technology and allow for direct-from-sample transcriptional profiling without the need for RNA isolation. QuantiGene assays come in single and multiplex format (96 and 384 well) and can analyze up to 80 RNA targets per well.

These assays have been used to develop more reliable and robust parameters for vaccine QC and safety. With the advent of nucleic acid vaccines such as mRNA vaccines, QuantiGene technology has been used to evaluate the safety of delivery systems and to monitor the biodistribution of these nucleic acids after administration via different routes. These are important aspects to be determined to demonstrate that the safety profiles of these RNA vaccines are comparable to traditional vaccines.

Product Cat no.
QuantiGene assays Learn more ›
QuantiGene assay for biodistribution studies webinar Watch now ›

In critical times, vaccine development can’t wait. Rapid development and deployment of a vaccine is vital to protecting populations from further spread of a pathogen.

The Gibco Expi transient expression systems enable you to confidently and consistently get superior yields of your vaccine candidates in the shortest time. Our optimized protein expression systems include cells, media, transfection reagent, enhancers/feed, and a DNA vector to provide a complete solution that enables:

  • Rapid production of vaccine candidates to effectively shorten the time to clinic
  • High yields of vaccine candidates
  • Cost-effective and large-scale production capabilities

Spotlight Story: Vaccine development efforts at University of Queensland

Professor Paul Young and Dr. Keith Chappell at the University of Queensland are leading a group that mobilized early to develop a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine under the auspices of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI). They are using a unique ‘molecular clamp’ technology together with the Gibco ExpiCHO Expression System to rapidly scale targeted vaccine development. The ExpiCHO system is uniquely suited to this project for the high yield and quality it delivers with rapid expression of vaccine candidates. Additionally, the same cGMP-banked ExpiCHO-S cells can be used for the entire manufacturing process: from early preclinical work using transient expression, to full-scale manufacturing employing a clonally-selected, high-expression stable cell line.

Read the GEN article highlighting this work  

Structural research

Viral spike proteins reside on the surface of viruses and are used to bind to host cells, enabling viral infection. Knowledge of the precise, 3D structure of these proteins is essential for the generation of specific, effective drugs and vaccines. It also provides general insight into how the virus evades the immune system. 

Researchers at the Department of Molecular Biosciences (The University of Texas at Austin) and the Vaccine Research Center (National Institutes of Health) determined the 3D structure of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein  thanks to the Thermo Scientific Krios G4 Cryo Transmission Electron Microscope (Cryo-TEM), a powerful, commercially available cryo-electron microscope for life science applications, commercially available cryo-electron microscope for life science applications.

This structure will undoubtedly help to expedite the development and evaluation of a potential vaccine or treatment. Most notably, the structure was determined within weeks of purifying the spike protein; this quick pace heralds a potential revolution in vaccine and anti-viral development.

Related links: 
Single particle analysis 
Thermo Scientific Krios G4 Cryo-TEM 
Cryo-TEM structure of the SARS-CoV-2 spike in the prefusion conformation
GeneArt Gene-to-Protein services
Expi293 expression systems for structural biology

Process development & manufacturing

In the development of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 virus, four different approaches are leading the way:

  • Protein subunit vaccines—involve using a key part of the virus, typically the viral spike protein or part of the receptor binding domain, to develop an immune response.  These proteins are produced recombinantly in mammalian, microbial, or yeast cells.
  • mRNA vaccines—involve the injection of synthesized, packaged mRNA encoding the viral spike protein
  • Plasmid DNA vaccines—use naked plasmid DNA encoding the spike protein and/or more viral structures which, once taken up into human cells, are translated into the virus proteins and help trigger an immune response
  • Viral vaccines—involve growing the complete virus and using killed or live attenuated virus as the vaccine

Our bioprocessing vaccine production technologies and virology portfolios offer proven solutions for process development and production. Learn more about these products below.

Vaccine QA/QC

To ensure a recombinant vaccine is safe, effective, and accepted by regulatory authorities, Thermo Fisher Scientific provides instruments for critical in‐depth analytical characterization, quality assurance (QA), and quality control (QC). Most vaccine antigens are complex glycoproteins and a range of analytical technologies can be used for QC analytical testing, including:

Chromatography and mass spectrometry technology for vaccine QA/QC

Chromeleon CDS
Thermo Scientific Chromeleon chromatography data software (CDS) supports chromatography and mass spectrometry operations from research to routine GMP quality testing. It's a compliance-ready enterprise solution designed for tracking, accountability, and QA/QC.

Vanquish Core HPLC
The new Thermo Scientific Vanquish Core HPLC System is built for the rigors of GxP environments such as pharmaceutical quality control (QC).

Precision Pipetting: Thermo Scientific Clip Tip Pipetting System
Sealed in security, feel the difference. It all starts with our interlocking pipette technology. Breakthrough Thermo Scientific ClipTip technology makes daily pipetting a totally new experience. The pipetting system locks tips firmly in place so they will not loosen or leak, regardless of application pressure.

Water purification
Flexible lab systems designed for your applications. For more than 130 years, Thermo Scientific lab water systems have been a trusted resource for science and industry. Our complete line of water purification technologies includes solutions for your most critical and everyday application needs, from electrodeionization to reverse osmosis and distillation.

Purity and impurities
Excipients & adjuvants
Host cell proteins
Released glycans
Monosaccharide composition and sialic acid content
Glycan site profiling
Intact glycoprotein profiling
Reverse phase HPLC