World Immunization Week 2018: Why and how #VaccinesWork

This week is World Immunization Week, a global campaign to raise awareness of infectious diseases and to educate the public on the importance of vaccination.

Vaccines are a relatively modern tool, with the world’s first successful vaccine being developed in 1796 for smallpox.  Numbers show that when vaccinations steadily increase, rates of death from diseases like measles and polio were vastly reduced.

via WHOMeasles is a highly contagious disease and remains one of the leading causes of death for young children around the world. Before the first vaccine for measles was introduced in 1963, the disease caused 2.6 million deaths each year. However, between 2000 and 2016, the global death rate from measles was decreased by 84%, falling below 100,000 deaths annually for the first time.

Similarly, cases of polio have fallen 99% since the launch of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988, nearly achieving its goal of eradicating the disease entirely.

This illustrates that vaccinations aren’t just important to the people who take them: over time the use of vaccinations can protect entire populations from contagious disease with what’s known as herd immunity, or ‘community immunity’. Vaccines build immunity in individuals by mimicking an infection. The body’s immune system kicks in and learns to fight that particular infection, achieving immunity to that strain of disease.

In larger populations, the number of new infections decreases as individuals are vaccinated and go through this process. It’s more difficult for diseases to spread if more members of the population can’t be infected. This disrupts the wildfire-like spread of contagions and even protects more vulnerable members of the population who aren’t immune yet, like children, or cannot become immune due to medical reasons.  This only works if enough people get vaccinated though.

Making the world safer against viruses and bacteria is an important step for the future of our communities, which is why our scientists work so hard to help support immunization around the globe. We hope to play a part in the eradication of deadly illnesses by using our research capabilities to progress current research. 

Using mass spectrometry, genotyping technology, DNA/RNA extraction technology, and Next Generation Sequencing, our teams generate a broader understanding of the genetics of diseases, as well as how particular molecules behave and are characterised.

We develop biomaterials that enable researchers to develop vaccines for epidemic diseases such as the Zika and Ebola viruses. Our reference materials are used to prove the quality and purity of medicines, while our microbiology teams have a strong reputation in anti-infective research, as well as antimicrobial surveillance and drug development.

There’s still a long way to go, but in the meantime, visit the World Health Organisation’s website to learn about how vaccines work and how you can help.

What makes a good LC-MS/MS bioassay?

Liquid chromatography linked to tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS) is the ‘go to’ method for pharmacokinetics and metabolism studies across drug development with recent advances in separation, throughput and methods for analysing protein biotherapeutics.

But not all LC-MS/MS assays are created equal. There are many pitfalls that await even experienced scientists developing and validating, for example, a new bioassay. However, with experience and knowing what pitfalls to look out for, these issues don’t need to stand in the way of producing a robust bioassay and achieving analysis goals for your compound in good time.

Choosing the right method approach

When selecting your LC-MS/MS method approach it is worth doing your homework. Pick an assay format that is best suited to your compound and consider factors such as matrix type, analyte structure, choice and availability of reagents, and the sensitivity and specificity you need.

What about sample preparation? Will protein precipitation or solid phase extraction be enough or should you consider enrichment, for example using affinity capture steps? Use the simplest approach available to the required selectivity/specificity, sensitivity, accuracy, and precision in the intended matrix and species.

LGC blog What makes a good LC-MS_MS bioassay

Common pitfalls

Accuracy, precision, reliability, throughput and sensitivity all make for a good assay. But what are the common pitfalls you should be on top of when commissioning a new LC-MS/MS assay?

The increase in sensitivity of recent LC-MS/MS instruments and the use of wide calibration ranges can make carry over and contamination an issue, but these can be avoided if detected and addressed during validation.

The retention factor of the analyte needs to be optimised in order to allow for the analyte to have sufficient time to interact with the stationary phase on the column. This will allow for the best sensitivity to be achieved and for the analyte to elute from the column before any other matrix interferences in the sample.

LC-MS/MS has a well-deserved reputation for excellent selectivity but interference from the sample matrix (matrix effect) or metabolites can catch you out. Careful validation is key to optimising methods to eliminate or minimise these issues¹.
Best recommendation? Find a partner with expertise in a wide range of LC-MS/MS methodologies

LGC has extensive experience developing LC-MS/MS bioassays for many different compounds and applies an intelligent, streamlined process to new method development that highlights issues at an early stage and creates a solid basis for future troubleshooting. Read our poster ‘A step-by-step guide to developing a robust assay in bioanalysis using LC-MS/MS’ to learn about LGC’s proven approach to developing industry-leading LC-MS/MS bioassays.

 

References
1. Matuszewski BK, Constanzer ML, Chavez-Eng CM. Strategies for the assessment of matrix effect in quantitative bioanalytical methods based on HPLC− MS/MS. Analytical chemistry. 2003 Jul 1;75(13):3019-30.