Optical Sensors now Presented at Deutsches Museum

March 10, 2022

Bioreactor Exhibit Honoring Covid-19 Vaccine Development

Since a livestream event in November 2021 to mark the presentation of the Future Award to BioNTech for the development of a highly potent Covid-19 mRNA vaccine, the type of bioreactor used to produce the first batch of vaccine is now on display in the Museum History Department. Integrated in this bioreactor are optical oxygen and pH sensors for culture monitoring.

In the race against the spreading Covid-19 pandemic it was most important to find and produce an effective vaccine as fast as possible. It is not surprising that the Future Award for Technology and Innovation of the German Federal President, this time went to the company BioNTech from Mainz, whose development now helps saving lives all around the globe. To the panel discussion about mRNA research Katalin Karikó, Senior Vice President at BioNTech RNA Pharmaceuticals, brought the bioreactor type in which the first vaccine was produces, as an exhibit for the museum.

Quite inconspicuous, the two small sensor spots at the bottom of the bioreactor, will probably go unnoticed by most of the visitors. Nevertheless, these optical oxygen sensor and pH sensor play an essential role in safe and reliable bioprocess development and production. The sensor data ensures optimal culture conditions at all times, so the production can run without interruptions. The optical measurement principle, which allows to read out the sensors through the bioreactor wall, ensures that the culture is undisturbed and there is no contamination risk. As they are so small, these sensors can also be used in many other biotechnological culture formats, like for example flexible culture bags, where the PreSens DO or pH Nice Ports can be welded into the bag material, and the conditions in cell culture closely monitored. Small electro-optical modules or specially designed OEM components can easily be integrated in bioprocess monitoring units and are already used in systems of many renowned biotechnology companies.

We feel proud that optical sensor technology could contribute to the development of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. Many biotechnological applications have already profited from our products and hopefully there will be many more.


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