IISc's 'warm' COVID-19 vaccine effective against all major variants: Study
(Sourced from PTI)
A heat-tolerant COVID-19 vaccine formulation developed by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bengaluru has proven effective against all current SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, according to a study in animals. The research, published in the ACS Infectious Diseases journal on Thursday, showed that the vaccine formulations by IISc-incubated biotech start-up Mynvax triggered a strong immune response in mice.
The formulation also protected hamsters from the deadly virus and remained stable at 37 degrees Celsius for up to a month, and at 100 degrees Celsius for up to 90 minutes, the researchers said. The team, including researchers from Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), noted that most vaccines require refrigeration to remain effective.
For example, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, known as Covishield in India, must be kept between 2-8 degrees Celsius and the Pfizer preventive requires specialized cold storage at minus 70 degrees Celsius.
The researchers assessed vaccinated mice sera (blood samples) for efficacy against key coronavirus variants, including the Delta variant currently spreading globally. "Our data shows that all formulations of Mynvax tested result in antibodies capable of consistent and effective neutralization of the Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern," SS Vasan, CSIRO's COVID-19 project leader and co-author of the study said.
The IISc-Mynvax vaccine uses a part of the viral spike protein called the receptor-binding domain (RBD) that allows the virus to connect with the host cell to infect it. The preventive differs from other vaccines as it only uses a specific part of the RBD - a string of 200 amino acids, instead of the entire spike protein.
The CSIRO's evaluation of the different Mynvax formulations will support the selection of the most suitable candidate for the planned human clinical trials in India which will be held later this year. "The institute has previously conducted a preclinical evaluation of the two COVID-19 vaccines including the Oxford-AstraZeneca preventive," said CSIRO's Health and Biosecurity Director, Rob Grenfell.
"A thermostable or warm vaccine is critical for remote or resource-limited locations with extremely hot climates which lack reliable cold storage supply chains, including regional communities in Australia's outback and the Indo-Pacific region," Grenfall said.