US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — University of Pittsburgh (USA) medical faculty reported successful preclinical trials of a potential vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of Covid-19. The results are published in the journal EBioMedicine.
“We had experience with SARS-CoV in 2003 (the causative agent of SARS. – Approx. Ed.) And MERS-CoV (coronavirus of the Middle East respiratory syndrome. – Approx. Ed.) In 2014. These two viruses, closely linked to SARS-CoV-2, have taught us that a certain protein called spike (a spike-like S protein on the surface of the coronavirus binds closely to human receptor proteins located on the surface of human cells. – Note . ed.), important for the induction of immunity against the virus. We knew exactly how to deal with the new virus. Therefore, it is so important to fund research in the field of vaccines. You never know where the next pandemic can start,” said Andrea Gambotto, MD, assistant professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
According to scientists, when testing on mice, a vaccine called PittCoVacc (Pittsburgh Coronavirus Vaccine) was delivered inside with a tiny patch that fits on your fingertip and contains 400 microneedles, consisting of sugar and pieces of protein, after spike protein is injected into skin they just dissolve.
The drug caused rodent organisms to produce SARS-CoV-2 specific antibodies for two weeks (protein compounds of blood plasma that respond to the introduction of bacteria, viruses, protein toxins and other foreign antigens), and in quantities that are considered sufficient to neutralize the virus . Although research is still needed in the long run, scientists recall that in their previous experiments, mice that received the MERS-CoV vaccine produced enough antibodies to neutralize the virus for at least a year.
At the same time, the creators of PittCoVacc note, in comparison with the experimental mRNA vaccine (it involves the introduction of special genetic material into the living cell, which starts the production of pathogen proteins inside the body, which causes an immune response), the clinical trials of which began in mid-March, their drug should be in a more traditional way (such as flu shots), using laboratory pieces of viral protein to build immunity.
The SARS-CoV-2 vaccine remained effective even after sterilization with gamma radiation: as researchers say, this is a key step in creating a drug suitable for human administration. Another plus of PittCoVacc is that pieces of spike protein are made in layers on cultured cells designed to express the S-protein of the new coronavirus. Thus, it is possible to easily increase the production of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. After manufacture, PittCoVacc can remain at room temperature until it is needed: it means that there is no need to cool the drug during transportation and storage.
“For most vaccines, you don’t need to start with scalability,” Gambotto emphasized. “But when you try to quickly develop a vaccine in a pandemic, this is the first requirement.”
As for future plans, now the creators of a promising vaccine are awaiting approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. After that, in the coming months, scientists should begin the first phase of clinical trials in humans.
“Normal testing takes at least a year, possibly even more,” adds lead researcher Louis Falot, MD, and professor of dermatology. “This particular situation is different from everything we have ever seen, so we don’t yet know how long the clinical development process will take.” Perhaps we can assume that we will do it faster. ”
Earlier, the head of the Mediterranean Institute of Infectious Diseases in Marseille, Didier Raoul announced the cure of 1003 people thanks to the combination therapy Covid-19. In addition, success was reported by Russian experts who created a potential anti-coronavirus drug based on an antimalarial drug.
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