Virginia Tech and UVA virologists develop broadly protective coronavirus vaccines
A candidate vaccine that could provide protection against the COVID-19 virus and other coronaviruses has shown promising results in early animal testing.
The candidate coronavirus vaccines, created by Virginia Tech’s University Distinguished Professor X.J. Meng and UVA Health’s Professor Steven L. Zeichner, prevented pigs from being becoming ill with a pig coronavirus, porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV).
The researchers have recently published their findings in the preprint server BioRXIV and the findings are currently under peer review.
“The candidate vaccine was developed using an innovative vaccine platform targeting a highly conserved genomic region of coronaviruses,” said Meng, a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. “The new vaccine platform utilizes a genome-reduced bacteria to express the coronavirus vaccine antigen on its surface. Such a vaccine platform can be manufactured with low cost in existing facilities around the world, which could meet the pandemic demand.”
Their coronavirus vaccine offers several advantages that could overcome major obstacles to global vaccination efforts. It would be easy to store and transport, even in remote areas of the world, and could be produced in mass quantities using existing vaccine-manufacturing factories.
“Our new platform offers a new route to rapidly produce vaccines at very low cost that can be manufactured in existing facilities around the world, which should be particularly helpful for pandemic response,” said Zeichner.
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