Potential vaccine against Covid-19 by US scientists develop immunity in mice

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on April 03, 2020

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The United States scientists on Thursday informed that preliminary tests of the potential vaccine against the coronavirus on mice have shown that it can induce an immune response that is capable to prevent the virus, Reuters reported.

A team at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in US mentioned that they were able to move quickly in developing a potential Covid-19 vaccine after having an idea of other coronaviruses that cause Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

According to Andrea Gambotto, an associate professor at Pittsburgh, the two viruses, which are closely related to SARS-CoV-2 (the new coronavirus causing the Covid-19 pandemic), teach that a particular protein, called a spike protein, is important for inducing immunity against the virus. “We knew exactly where to fight this new virus,” said Gambotto to Reuters.

The prototype vaccine called PittCoVacc, which has been tested on mice, generated what they described as “a surge of antibodies” against the new coronavirus within two weeks.

However, the scientists cautioned that since the testing is on the initial stage, animals have not been tracked for very long as yet. Hence, it is too early to comment on how long the immunity against the coronavirus would last.

But they speculated that tests in mice with their MERS experimental vaccine must have produced a sufficient level of antibodies to neutralize the virus for at least a year, Reuters report added.

The team said they hope to start testing the vaccine candidate on people in clinical trials in the next few months.

The potential vaccine uses a needle patch design, called a microneedle array, to increase its potential potency.

This array is a fingertip-sized patch of 400 tiny needles made out of sugar and the spike protein, Gambotto explained. It is designed to deliver the spike protein pieces into the skin, where the immune reaction is strongest, as per the Reuters report.

Meanwhile, researchers around the world are trying to develop potential treatments or vaccines against the deadly novel coronavirus that has claimed the lives of nearly 47,000 people and infected almost a million in just a few months.

Published on April 03, 2020

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