Single Dose Nanoparticle Vaccine Efficient To Produce Covid Antibodies

Across the world, health care workers and high-risk groups are beginning to receive COVID-19 vaccines, offering hope for a return to normalcy amidst the pandemic. However, the vaccines authorized for emergency use in the U.S. require two doses to be effective, which can create problems with logistics and compliance. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Central Science have developed a nanoparticle vaccine that elicits a virus-neutralizing antibody response in mice after only a single dose.

The primary target for COVID-19 vaccines is the spike protein, which is necessary for SARS-CoV-2’s entry into cells. Both of the vaccines currently authorized in the U.S. are mRNA vaccines that cause human cells to temporarily produce the spike protein, triggering an immune response and antibody production.

Peter Kim and colleagues wanted to try a different approach: a vaccine consisting of multiple copies of the spike protein displayed on ferritin nanoparticles. Ferritin is an iron storage protein found in many organisms that self-assembles into a larger nanoparticle. Other proteins, such as viral antigens, can be fused to ferritin so that each nanoparticle displays several copies of the protein, which might cause a stronger immune response than a single copy.

The researchers spliced spike protein and ferritin DNA together and then expressed the hybrid protein in cultured mammalian cells. The ferritin self-assembled into nanoparticles, each bearing eight copies of the spike protein trimer. The team purified the spike/ferritin particles and injected them into mice. After a single immunization, mice produced neutralizing antibody titers that were at least two times higher than those in convalescent plasma from COVID-19 patients, and significantly higher than those in mice immunized with the spike protein alone. A second immunization 21 days later produced even higher antibody levels. Although these results must be confirmed in human clinical trials, they suggest that the spike/ferritin nanoparticles may be a viable strategy for single-dose vaccination against COVID-19, the researchers say.

Source: https://www.acs.org/

AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 Vaccine Produces An Immune Response in Older People

Immunogenicity responses similar between older and younger adults

One of the world’s leading COVID-19 experimental vaccines produces a immune response in both old and young adults, raising hopes of a path out of the gloom and economic destruction wrought by the novel coronavirus.  The vaccine, developed by the University of Oxford, also triggers lower adverse responses among the elderly, British drug maker AstraZeneca Plc AZN.L, which is helping manufacture the vaccine, said on Monday. A vaccine that works is seen as a game-changer in the battle against the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 1.15 million people, shuttered swathes of the global economy and turned normal life upside down for billions of people.

It is encouraging to see immunogenicity responses were similar between older and younger adults and that reactogenicity was lower in older adults, where the COVID-19 disease severity is higher,” an AstraZeneca spokesman said.

https://uk.reuters.com

Who Owns Scientific Data?

The coronavirus pandemic has rekindled a long-standing debate on whether viruses are a nation’s property, and if countries are obliged to share biological samples and scientific data that are key to developing life-saving treatments and vaccines. More than 6.5 million people are reported to have been infected globally, according to a Reuters tally.

China, where the novel coronavirus emerged late last year, shared the viral genetic sequence data (GSD) with the World Health Organization (WHO) in early January. That enabled laboratories around the world to start developing test kits, medications and vaccines.
Since then, however, a war of words has erupted around who gets access to vaccines and treatments first, with outrage over reports the U.S. administration tried to gain access to a potential vaccine being developed by a German firm.

It is morally wrong to think that someone has a stronger claim to a vaccine because they happen to live in a rich country,” said Mark Eccleston-Turner, co-author of a recent paper on the issue of viral sovereignty.

The international legal system encourages countries to look at viruses as their “sovereign resources that can be bargained and bartered away in exchange for future health goods such as vaccines,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

We need to move away from this model to one where viruses, and the health goods which are developed are seen as public goods, which everyone in the world has equal claim and access to,” said Eccleston-Turner, a lecturer at Britain’s Keele University.

Source: https://news.trust.org/

mRNA Are Super Potent Molecules, Fast And Efficient Against Coronavirus

CureVac AG, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company pioneering mRNA-based drugs for vaccines and therapeutics, confirmed today that internal efforts are focused on the development of a coronavirus vaccine with the goal to reach, help and to protect people and patients worldwide. Based on its inherent mode of action, CureVac sees mRNA as one of the most potent molecules to provide fast and efficient solutions in outbreak scenarios, such like the Coronavirus. With inhouse expertise of over two decades and the company’s deep scientific understanding CureVac is leveraging its potent vaccine platform to focus on developing a potent, efficacious and safe and fast to produce vaccine against Covid-19.

CureVac recently announced successful vaccination results in its Rabies program fully protecting humans with two doses of only 1 microgram (1 millionth of a gram). These results are encouraging when thinking of supplying populations and people worldwide in a pandemic scenario. The company also has long and strong manufacturing expertise for mRNA-based vaccines and therapeutics since 2006. At this time, CureVac is working on expanding its manufacturing capacities to be able to provide up to billions of doses for outbreak situations like Covid-19.

Nature has invented mechanisms to activate our immune system against infectious diseases. With our unique messenger RNA technology we mimic nature and give our body the information how to fight against the virus. The combination of mRNA science, disease understanding, formulation and production expertise make CureVac a unique player to fight against any infectious disease, no matter whether they are seasonal or pandemic,” commented Mariola Fotin-Mleczek, Chief Technology Officer of CureVac.

Source: https://www.curevac.com/