How Organic Chemistry Has Led To the Creation of Vaccines

How Organic Chemistry Has Led To the Creation of Vaccines
How Organic Chemistry Has Led To the Creation of Vaccines

What is organic chemistry?

Organic chemistry is a branch of chemistry that studies the structure, properties, composition, and reactions of organic compounds which incorporate carbon, the building block of life. Carbon has the unique ability to form covalent bonds with itself and other elements such as hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, giving rise to a vast number of structures and molecules each with their own unique properties.

Some examples of organic compounds in daily life include the food we consume, the fuel used to power our vehicles and machinery, the plastics we utilise in virtually every facet of our lives, as well as the pharmaceuticals we consume, such as vaccines and medication. Organic chemistry forms a significant portion of H2 chemistry, and can often be daunting to many students given its complexity, numerous reaction pathways, and abstract nature. Chemistry tuition helps students in Singapore strengthen their understanding of organic chemistry through expert guidance, revision, and consultations, allowing students to acquire the mastery needed to excel in their exams.

Why does organic chemistry matter in creating vaccines?

Much more than just an academic subject taught in schools, organic chemistry has numerous practical applications in daily life. They range from efficient processing of oil and gas by refineries, large-scale manufacturing of foods enriched with added nutrients, as well as the development of vaccines in the pharmaceutical industry.

The creation of a vaccine from initial stages to mass-scale production and implementation is a highly complex affair, with numerous parties involved in R&D, clinical testing, manufacturing, and logistics. There are various stages of vaccine development, starting from exploratory, pre-clinical, clinical development, regulatory review and approval, and ending off with manufacturing and quality control.

Organic chemistry plays an important role when it comes to vaccines. One example is at the early stages of synthesising an effective treatment method. Organic chemistry allows scientists to understand the exact nature of which a viral spike protein, such as that of the COVID virus, binds to receptors on the cell surface resulting in infection. With this knowledge, mRNA vaccines such as those manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna can be produced, which stimulate the body’s cells to produce a similar spike protein that the COVID virus has. This facilitates an immune response and provides enhanced protection against the virus.

Another example of organic chemistry’s utility is in the manufacturing, shipment, and storage of vaccines. COVID vaccines consist of numerous organic compounds such as preservatives, stabilisers, surfactants, and residuals, while the fragile nature of mRNA requires vaccines to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures to maintain their efficacy. Organic chemists work closely with engineers and logistics personnel to ensure the continued quality control of vaccines, as well as the safe storage and shipment of vaccines across the globe.

Students who have majored in chemistry in university are best equipped to step into these meaningful careers and contribute to the betterment of humanity. Chemistry tuition in Singapore helps students take the first step towards that career path, improving their academic performance and allowing them to enroll in science-based majors in university.

Looking to bolster your child’s A-level chemistry performance? Visit our chemistry tuition centre located at Bukit Timah, or get in touch with us to find out about our timetables and classes and arrange for a free trial class for your child today.

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