COVID-19 Vaccine: China Creates Artificial Protein That Can Be Basis For Broad-Spectrum Vaccine While Others Warn Vaccines Might Not Be Effective Long Term
: Researchers from China have created an artificial protein that they say could be the basis of a vaccine to help ward off various deadly coronaviruses, including the pathogen that causes Covid-19
Copyright: Credit: Xinhua
The researchers from the Chinese CDC said the approach triggered a strong antibody response in mice and monkey trials to Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) and the Covid-19 coronavirus. The Chinese approach is a vaccine framework that could be useful against a range of pathogens.
Their research was published in the scientific journal Cell. https://www.cell.com/cell/pdf/S0092-8674(20)30695-4.pdf
Professor Dr George Fu Gao, director of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention told Thailand Medical News, “The framework of immunogen design can be universally applied to other betacoronavirus vaccines to counter emerging threat.”
The human trials of the vaccine started earlier this month with approval from the National Medical Products Administration, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Microbiology, which also took part in the research.
Also test production has also been completed at a pharmaceutical plant in Hefei, Anhui province.
Dr Gao added, “The highly scalable production strongly suggested the feasibility to meet the vaccine demands worldwide.”
Currently more than 200 vaccines are under development around the world to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. Some projects have entered clinical trials but there is mounting evidence that patients with mild or no symptoms might not be able to generate enough antibodies, and those who did tended to lose the antibodies quickly.
Dr Gao’s team created a protein with two rather than the usual one receptor binding domains (RBD) that are usually found on the coronavirus’s spike protein, which binds with the membrane of human cells.
The team injected the protein into mice and monkeys, and infected the animal subjects with Mers and Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The result was 10 to 100 times the amount of antibodies generated by a conventional shot.
The team said this type of vaccine could be useful against a range of coronaviruses and the protein could be produced on a mass scale on a range of biological platforms, including genetically engineered yeast and insect cells.
However there are still many unknowns about the approach, according to Dr Wang Xinquan, professor of life sciences at Tsinghua University. Wang was not involved in the study but flagged the potential of the double structure in the fight against Covid-19 in a paper published in the journal Nature
in March. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2180-5
Dr Wang said Gao’s work could be “a step ahead of theory”, but many vaccines that fell perfectly in line with existing theories failed to produce good results in clinical trials.
He said, “A vaccine may work very well and we don’t know exactly why”
The release of the research paper came as the Chinese military added another experimental coronavirus vaccine to its list of approved drugs for armed forces personnel.
The new vaccine candidate developed jointly by a team at the Academy of Military Medical Sciences and Tianjin-based company CanSino Biologics has been through two phases of clinical trials.
However Dr Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the China CDC, warned on Monday that a vaccine might not be a panacea.
Dr Wu said that none of the vaccines under development around the world was ready for mass civilian use and protection from a vaccine might just last a few months.
Dr Wu warned “The vaccine cannot solve all the problems.”
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