Preventing infectious disease
The Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Division provides vaccines to help prevent viral and bacterial diseases, as well as sophisticated instruments, assays and software to protect the blood supply from infectious diseases. The division consists of two businesses, Novartis Vaccines and Novartis Diagnostics.
Viral and bacterial infections are most effectively prevented with vaccines. Vaccines train the immune system to attack invading microbes before they establish themselves in the body and cause diseases that can lead to a lifetime of disability or even death.
The protective power of a vaccine can reach beyond those who have received it. Vaccinating even one person in a community against an infectious disease can help prevent transmission to others.
Novartis Vaccines offers vaccines to help prevent:
- Meningococcal disease
- Japanese encephalitis
- Tick-borne encephalitis
- Haemophilus Influenzae type B (Hib)
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
Novartis Diagnostics creates innovative diagnostics to detect, prevent and predict disease and to improve medical outcomes. Novartis products are used to test more than 25 million blood donations a year, reducing HIV-1, hepatitis and West Nile Virus transmission through transfusions.
Producing more effective vaccines faster with reverse vaccinology
Reverse vaccinology was pioneered by Novartis Vaccines.
This process involves first decoding the genetic makeup of a bacterium to determine which antigens will prevent the disease. With the aid of reverse vaccinology, it is now possible to identify antigens based upon the genome of the virus, making vaccine development and research more efficient.
Meningitis B is a good example of a virus where conventional vaccine development was unsuccessful. An innovative multicomponent vaccine to protect infants and adolescents against meningococcal serogroup B was developed using reverse vaccinology. Novartis Vaccines is now applying reverse vaccinology to other diseases including staphylococcus, penumococcus, group B streptococcus, clamydia, group A streptoccccus and some viral targets.
Detecting HIV-1 in donated blood
Assays are used to screen donated blood for infection before use. The highly diverse and rapidly mutating HIV-1 genome can escape detection with assays that target only one region of it's genome. Procleix Ultrio and Ultrio Plus assays from Novartis Diagnostics are the only Nucleic Acid Amplification Technology (NAT) blood screening assays to target two HIV-1 regions. This innovation results in faster screening and fewer missed infections.