Scientists want one vaccine against many coronaviruses to prevent the next pandemic

Dr. Modjarrad, an emerging infectious disease researcher in the US Army, is seeking vaccines to protect against the various coronaviruses that cause disease in humans.Includes Covid-19 variant It may escape today’s vaccine.

The goal is to prevent the next new thing from spreading around the world. Such shots may stop the coronavirus, which causes some common colds.

His research team is one of about 20 groups around the world working on the so-called universal or pancoronavirus vaccine. This is a shot that blocks many related viruses at once, including those that haven’t infected anyone yet. After years of fighting Ebola, Zika, H1N1 epidemic flu, and other new pathogens, Dr. Mojarad and other emerging infectious disease experts say they want to get a vaccine to slow it down. I have. Next new pathogen Whatever it is, come with me.

Kayvon Modjarrad’s research team is one of about 20 groups around the world working on the pancoronavirus vaccine.


Aalen Kaplan and Mike Walters

“This is not just a way out of this pandemic, but a way out of this epidemic cycle,” said Dr. Mojarad, director of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Division at the Walter Reed Army Institute in Silver Spring, Maryland. ..

Three deadly new coronaviruses have emerged in the last 18 years, including the virus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome or MERS, and scientists warn that another is likely. Many animals, including bats and rabbits, carry a coronavirus that can spread to humans. According to scientists, millions of people around the world are exposed to the pandemic virus SARS-CoV-2, increasing the risk of developing new vaccine-resistant mutants.

“We need to be proactive in tackling these and many other viruses,” said David Veesler, a biochemist at the University of Washington School of Medicine who is testing experimental vaccines against a group of coronaviruses. ..

Scientists have been trying to develop for years Universal vaccine against influenza— Not successful yet. Coronaviruses, which are infrequently mutated and have few clear strains, may be easier targets. However, scientists say it can take years to develop something that protects against most of the coronaviruses that infect humans, and there are many challenges in the process.

The Oslo-based organization Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, which funds the development of vaccines for epidemic diseases, has invested $ 200 million in grants for the early development of vaccines that broadly protect against dangerous coronaviruses. doing. The U.S. National Institute for Allergic Infectious Diseases, where scientists are studying how to make coronavirus vaccines, added to other researchers, including $ 36 million on teams at Duke University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. We are awarding $ 95 million. In Boston.

Several companies are developing multivalent Covid-19 vaccines. Target the SARS-CoV-2 variant.. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, California, said: ” He said.

“”“Before trying to go to Mars, we need to prove that we can reach the moon.”

— Kayvon Modjarrad, Walter Reed Army Research Institute

Vaccines currently under development do not protect against all coronaviruses. Viruses are so different from each other that creating one vaccine that targets everything is a scientific challenge. Most researchers first focus on vaccines against the salvecovirus. This is the group of greatest concern as it contains the pathogens behind Covid-19 and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

If they can successfully create a salbecovirus vaccine, the next step is to create a vaccine that blocks the betacoronavirus. This includes salvecoviruses and viruses that cause MERS. It was first detected in 2012 and has a mortality rate of about 35%. This group also contains two viruses that cause the common cold.

“Before we try to go to Mars, we need to prove that we can reach the moon,” said Dr. Modjarrad.

Dennis Burton, an immunologist at Scripps Research, said recent studies on antibodies in people infected with SARS-CoV-2 have helped speed vaccine development. He and other researchers have identified “widespread neutralizing antibodies” that prevent both pandemic and intimate virus cousins. He said he could then develop a vaccine that would produce those antibodies when delivered to the patient.

Neutralizing antibody MERS test at the International Vaccine Institute in Seoul.


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To create a universal vaccine, researchers look for parts of the viral pathogen that are the same or conserved as the associated virus. Many people focus on the targeted coronavirus peplomer. It protrudes from the surface of the virus and allows the virus to latch and infect human cells.

U.S. military Dr. Modjarrad and his colleagues recently tested an experimental vaccine consisting of a copy of the SARS-CoV-2 peplomer attached to soccer ball-shaped nanoparticles made of ferritin, a blood protein that stores iron. Did. Vaccine-protected macaque Researchers have reported on the original pandemic virus. Vaccinated macaque sera also fought all major SARS variants, Dr. Modjarrad said.

Researchers are currently analyzing data from early-stage clinical trials of the vaccine in humans and found similar vaccines in mice aimed at protecting against a large number of betacoronaviruses, including the virus that causes MERS. We are testing, Dr. Mojarad said.

David Martinez, a post-doctor fellow at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, began designing a vaccine against SARS-like virus in April 2020, when a pandemic broke out in the United States. To start thinking about the prevention of SARS3, “he said.

David Martinez in the laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in June.


John Gardiner / UNC-Chapel Hill

He and his colleagues used messenger RNA.

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Pfizer Ltd

And BioNTech SE was done with their Covid-19 vaccine. They stitched together the genetic codes from fragments of spike proteins of four SARS-like viruses (SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2, and two bat viruses) rather than a genetic material from one coronavirus. ..

Dr. Martinez had to wait until November for the hybrid vaccine to be produced because the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines also lacked the essential ingredients needed.For experimental vaccines Tested with mouse, Covid-19 variants, bat coronavirus and other viruses protected them.

The research team is seeking funding for early-stage clinical trials in humans and is developing a vaccine against MERS and related betacoronavirus, Dr. Martinez said.

At the University of Washington, Dr. Veesler and his colleagues created the Covid-19 vaccine from virus-like nanoparticles studded with copies of the portion of the virus’s peplomer that binds to human cell receptors. The vaccine is currently in late clinical trials.

After identifying some widely neutralizing antibodies to the SARS-like virus, the researchers set out to design a “version 2.0” of the vaccine, Dr. Wiesler said. They attached to nanoparticle copies of fragments of peplomer proteins from SARS-CoV-2 and three similar viruses: the one that causes SARS and the two bat coronaviruses.When tested in mice, the vaccine showed that it could be provided Wide range of protection against viruses like SARS..

The team is currently purifying the vaccine and plans further testing.

Researchers have also identified some antibodies that fight Wider range of betacoronavirus, Dr. Veesler, including those that cause MERS. However, there are challenges that must be overcome. He said that antibodies are one-half to one-third as effective as other antibodies and are less common.

The antibody “paves the way for designing a pancoronavirus vaccine,” he said. “But we aren’t there yet.”

Write to Betsy McKay betsy.mckay +

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Scientists want one vaccine against many coronaviruses to prevent the next pandemic

Source link Scientists want one vaccine against many coronaviruses to prevent the next pandemic

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