Potential Vaccine Tests Against COVID-19 in Pittsburgh

After working on other coronaviruses, the University of Pittsburgh scientists stated that it was easier to work on a potential vaccine to tackle COVID-19. 

After working on other coronaviruses that cause Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), the team at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine stated that it was much easier to figure out how to start developing a potential vaccine to tackle COVID-19.

“These two viruses, which are closely related to SARS-CoV-2 [the new coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic], teach us that a particular protein, called a spike protein, is important for inducing immunity against the virus,” said Andrea Gambotto, an associate professor at Pittsburgh. “We knew exactly where to fight this new virus.”

A prototype of this potential vaccine against COVID-19, named PittsCoVacc, was tested on mice in Pittsburgh. According to the scientists, it generated “a surge of antibodies” against COVID-19 within two weeks. The vaccine uses a needle patch design, called a microneedle array, to increase its potential potency. However, since the mice used have not been tracked for long, it cannot be confirmed whether the vaccine against COVID-19 will last, and if it does, then for how long.

The team said they hope to start testing the vaccine candidate on people in clinical trials in the next few months.


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