In Memory Of My Beloved Mother, Mrs Raj Prasad Who Passed Away In Singapore At 0050 Hrs 6th October 2022

BREAKING NEWS
Source: Covid-19 Vaccine Updates  Apr 03, 2020  3 years ago
BREAKING! Covid-19 Vaccine Updates: US Developed Vaccine Utilizing Skin Patches Shows Efficacy Against SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus
BREAKING! Covid-19 Vaccine Updates: US Developed Vaccine Utilizing Skin Patches Shows Efficacy Against SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus
Source: Covid-19 Vaccine Updates  Apr 03, 2020  3 years ago
Covid-19 Vaccine Updates: Medical, virology and genomic researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have reported a potential vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes the deadly Covid-19 disease. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/ebiom/article/PIIS2352-3964(20)30118-3/fulltext
 
The vaccine when tested in animal models such as mice, the vaccine, delivered through a fingertip-sized patch, produces antibodies specific to SARS-CoV-2 at quantities thought to be sufficient for neutralizing the virus.

The medical researchers were able to act quickly compared to other vaccine developers because they had already laid the groundwork during earlier coronavirus epidemics.   

Dr Andrea Gambotto, Associate Professor of Surgery at the Pitt School of Medicine and also senior author of the research told Thailand Medical News,  “We had previous experience on SARS-CoV in 2003 and MERS-CoV in 2014. These two viruses, which are closely related to SARS-CoV-2, teach us 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. That’s why it’s important to fund vaccine research. You never know where the next pandemic will come from.”

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Co-senior author Louis Falo, Professor and Chair of Dermatology at Pitt’s School of Medicine and UPMC further added, “Our ability to rapidly develop this vaccine was a result of scientists with expertise in diverse areas of research working together with a common goal.”

Unlike the Moderna experimental mRNA vaccine candidate that just entered clinical trials, the vaccine described in this paper which the authors are calling PittCoVacc,  short for Pittsburgh CoronaVirus Vaccine, follows a more established approach, using lab-made pieces of viral protein to build immunity. It is almost the same way the current flu shots work. 
https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/qa_flublok-vaccine.htm
 
The medical researchers also used a novel approach to deliver the drug, called a microneedle array, to increase potency. This array is a fingertip-sized patch of 400 tiny needles that delivers the spike protein pieces into the skin, where the immune reaction is strongest. The patch goes on like a Band-Aid and then the needles which are made entirely of sugar and the protein pieces simply dissolve into the skin.

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Dr Falo added, “We developed this to build on the original scratch method used to deliver the smallpox vaccine to the skin, but as a high-tech version that is more efficient and reproducible patient to patient. And it’s actually pretty painless it feels kind of like Velcro.” https://www.pittmed.health.pitt.edu/story/sticking-it-disease

The whole innovation and system is also highly scalable. The protein pieces are manufactured by a “cell factory” layers upon layers of cultured cells engineered to express the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein—that can be stacked further to multiply yield. Purifying the protein can also be done at industrial scale. Mass-producing the microneedle array involves spinning down the protein-sugar mixture into a mold using a centrifuge. Once manufactured, the vaccine can sit at room temperature until it’s needed, eliminating the need for refrigeration during transport or storage.

Dr Gambotto commented, “For most vaccines, you don’t need to address scalability to begin with. But when you try to develop a vaccine quickly against a pandemic, it’s a prerequisite.”

Upon testing in animal models like mice, PittCoVacc generated a surge of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 within two weeks of the microneedle prick.

Though these animals have not been tracked long term yet, but the researchers point out that mice who got their MERS-CoV vaccine produced a sufficient level of antibodies to neutralize the virus for at least a year, and so far the antibody levels of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccinated animals seem to be following the same trend.

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Significantly, the SARS-CoV-2 microneedle vaccine maintains its potency even after being thoroughly sterilized with gamma radiation a key step toward making a product that’s suitable for use in humans.

The researchers are now in the process of applying for an investigational new drug (IND) approval from the US FDA F  in anticipation of starting a phase I human clinical trial in the next few months.

Dr Falo warned, “Testing in patients would typically require at least a year and probably longer. This particular situation is different from anything we’ve ever seen, so we don’t know how long the clinical development process will take. Recently announced revisions to the normal processes suggest we may be able to advance this faster."
 
For more on Covid-19 vaccine updates, please keep on logging on to Thailand Medical News.

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