The race for vaccines against the coronavirus has two new players at the stage of testing on humans. This is the case of british researchers, who claim to have a technology with the potential ” revolutionary “.
The researchers from Imperial College London claim that they will be the first to test on humans a vaccine developed from a new technology called ” RNA self-amplifier “.
This experimental vaccine contains pieces of RNA, a molecule cousin of DNA, which contains genetic information specific to the SARS-CoV-2. When injected into the muscle, these pieces of RNA are expected to reproduce and bring the immune cells of the human body to produce copies of the protein in the form of points that can be found on the surface of the coronavirus. Thus, the immune system would be “trained” to recognize and repel the COVID-19.
This strategy differs from the traditional way of design of vaccines, which consists in injecting a weakened version or modified from a virus in the human body. “If our approach works […], [the vaccine] could revolutionize our way of responding to epidemics in the future “, says professor Robin Shattock, who is leading this work, in a press release.
In preclinical testing on animals, the vaccine candidate at Imperial College “has proven to be safe and has produced encouraging signs of an effective immune response,” said the british university. In the coming weeks, 300 healthy participants will receive two doses of this vaccine candidate to verify that it is safe, and measure its effectiveness.
Unlike other laboratories, which leave, and promise the availability of a vaccine before the end of the year, the Imperial College London believes that its vaccine, if all goes as planned, could be delivered in the spring of 2021.
In China, the biopharmaceutical company Clover also announced last Friday that it had injected at a first patient’s vaccine candidate in clinical trials of phase 1. These trials, involving 150 adults and older people in health, are intended to evaluate the effectiveness of two adjuvants, which are substances that are supposed to increase the immune response.
“The use of an adjuvant […] can reduce the amount of antigen required per dose, allowing higher doses of vaccine to be produced and made available to a greater number of people “, raises the company.
► According to the world health Organization, there are currently 142 experimental vaccines to the study around the globe, and for 13 of them, the tests on humans have been started.