University of Cambridge strives for autumn trials of coronavirus vaccine to UK funding

FILE PHOTO: An almost empty street is seen outside Cambridge University, as the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) disease continues, Cambridge, UK, 1 April 2020. REUTERS / Andrew Couldridge

LONDON (Reuters) – The University of Cambridge is set to begin clinical trials in the autumn of its possible coronavirus vaccine after receiving £ 1.9 million ($ 2.5 million) in funding from the UK government, the university said Wednesday.

The scientists behind the vaccine said their approach, which uses genetic sequences of all known coronaviruses to elicit the immune response, could help prevent the adverse effects of a hyper-inflammatory immune response.

“We are looking for chinks in their armor, crucial pieces of the virus that we can use to construct the vaccine to steer the immune response in the right direction,” said Jonathan Heeney, head of the Viral Zoonotics Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. , sei.

“Ultimately, we aim to create a vaccine that not only protects against SARS-CoV-2, but also other related coronaviruses that can be transmitted from animals to humans.”

No vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has yet been clinically proven effective, although 30 using a variety of technologies have already been tested in humans.

Cambridge’s candidate, DIOS-CoVax2, is DNA – based. Computer-generated antigen structures are encoded by synthetic genes, which can then reprogram the body’s immune system to make antibodies against the coronavirus.

This DNA vector method has been shown to be safe and effective in stimulating an immune response in other pathogens in early stage trials, the university said.

Although it works on a later schedule than some other vaccine candidates, the DIOS-CoVax2 shot would not need to be stored at cold temperatures and could be delivered without needles, allowing for the widespread distribution of the vaccine.

“This could be a major breakthrough in the state giving a future vaccine to large numbers of people around the world,” said Saul Faust, director of the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility.

Report by Alistair Smout; Edited by Mark Potter

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