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Manufacture Vaccines

Jurassic Medicine

Some of you may have spotted “big bad” pharma’s cameo in the new Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom movie. It’s not central to the plot; just a one-line mention of a (shifty) biopharma CEO who wants to acquire a dinosaur to explore new bioactives. Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t go into further details about how dinosaurs could influence modern medicine – or the many other burning questions I’m sure we all have. How does one perform tests on a dinosaur? Is a special facility required? Would the resulting “dinomab” be suitable for next generation bioprocessing techniques? Is there a disaster recovery plan in case the dinosaur rampages? (Of course not). And how on earth would regulators react to dinosaur-derived medicines?

Clearly, we shouldn’t read too much into pharma’s frequent portrayal as the fictional villain –any organization that performs experiments is juicy inspiration for a storyline. That said, Hollywood does like to tap into popular opinion and, right now, the general population has a low opinion of pharma. In the US, Edelman’s annual Trust Barometer survey shows that pharma companies saw a notable drop in trust between 2016 and 2017 – from 51 percent to 38 percent. You can read more on here.

With trust in pharma falling, it’s no surprise that the age-old anti-vaccination argument is also rearing its ugly head again. In the US, pockets of “intense anti-vaccine activity” are increasing. In Camas County, Idaho, more than a quarter of young children lack at least some vaccinations (1). The problem also affects other countries. At the start of June, the World Health Organization warned against an increasing anti-vaccination trend in Turkey, for example (2). In Australia, anti-vaxers recently erected a billboard that simply stated, “Do you know what’s in a vaccine?” (Fortunately, it wasn’t long before someone spray painted “Common sense” to the sign) (3).

It is 2018; dozens of studies have proven that vaccination is safe and highly beneficial. Whatever a pharma company’s ultimate driver is – from altruism to corporate greed – there are regulations in place to protect us from badly designed vaccines and other therapeutics derived from unscrupulous sources (as exemplified by FDA’s crackdown on stem-cell clinics (4).

What is in a vaccine? Proven science, common sense – and absolutely no dinosaurs (yet).

Stephanie Sutton

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  1. JJK Olive at al., “The state of the antivaccine movement in the United States: A focused examination of nonmedical exemptions in states and counties,” PLOS Medicine, 15, 2018.
  2. Hurriyet Daily News, “WHO warns against ‘increasing anti-vaccination trend’ in Turkey,” (2018). Available at: Last accessed June 19, 2018.
  3. Perth Now, “Perth anti-vaccination billboard attracts vandal with a message of their own,” (2018). Available at: Last accessed June 19, 2018.
  4. J Strachan, “FDA Quackdown”, The Medicine Maker, 42, 8 (2018). Available at:
About the Author
Stephanie Vine

Making great scientific magazines isn’t just about delivering knowledge and high quality content; it’s also about packaging these in the right words to ensure that someone is truly inspired by a topic. My passion is ensuring that our authors’ expertise is presented as a seamless and enjoyable reading experience, whether in print, in digital or on social media. I’ve spent fourteen years writing and editing features for scientific and manufacturing publications, and in making this content engaging and accessible without sacrificing its scientific integrity. There is nothing better than a magazine with great content that feels great to read.

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