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As the world waits with baited breath for news on a vaccine, and with hundreds currently in development, the race is on for which will be the first to successfully complete clinical trials.
And now, a new experimental vaccine has joined the party, with researchers claiming it could be up to 10x more effective than the current immune response generated by COVID survivors.
The ‘nanoparticle’ vaccine was created by a team at the University of Washington, and they think it could be more powerful than any of the current frontrunner vaccines.
The vaccine, which is currently in animal trials, uses nanoparticles to mimic the structure of viruses, allowing it to mould to – and block – the virus receptors that act as a ‘gateway’ to healthy cells.
As well as generating a much stronger immune response, the developers say that the vaccine also triggers memory cell response, meaning patients are able to produce antibodies more quickly if they become re-infected.
According to results from a study published in the Cell journal in October, the ‘ultra-potent’ vaccine increased levels of immunity in mice even when administered in doses five times lower than the regular level.
According to Metro, Dr Neil King, an assistant professor of biochemistry at the University of Washington medical school who is involved in the study, said the vaccine offers a different solution than other versions currently in trials.
We hope that our nanoparticle platform may help fight this pandemic that is causing so much damage to our world.
The potency, stability and manufacturability of this vaccine candidate differentiates it from many others under investigation.
In addition to being effective in lower doses, the vaccine would also be easier to transport and store around the world, as it does not require the cold storage needed to prevent other vaccines from degrading.
Local news outlets reports that the vaccine has already been licensed for mass production by two bio-tech companies, with clinical trials slated to begin by the end of this year.
Dr King told KIRO7 that he was focused on preventing not only COVID-19, but also future pandemics:
This was the third time a coronavirus in the last 20 years has jumped from animals to humans and caused lots of problems. It’s going to happen again.
He added, ‘And if our vaccine can go out and prevent disease… when I lay my head down on my pillow at the end of the night, that’s what I want to accomplish’.
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