COVID-19 vaccine shows promising results in pre-clinical trial

A team at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in the USA said they were able to develop the COVID-19 vaccine after working on coronaviruses that cause Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). These two viruses are closely related to SARS-CoV-2 and the spike protein is important for inducing immunity against the virus. The initial tests in mice delivered via a fingertip-sized patch have shown that it can induce an immune response against SARS-CoV-2 at levels that might prevent infection. This prototype vaccine called PittCoVacc generated a surge of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 within 2 weeks. This vaccine uses a microneedle array to increase its potency. The array is a finger-tip sized patch of 400 tiny needles made from spike protein of the virus and sugar. It delivers the viral spike protein pieces into the skin, where the immune reaction is the strongest. The animals have not been tracked for very long, hence it is too early to say whether and how long the immune response against COVID-19 lasts. The antibody levels of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccinated animals seem to follow the same trend as their MERS experimental vaccine.

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