Vaccine effective against all variants of SARS-CoV-2 has been developed in Vienna
Preclinical data on the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine developed at MedUni Vienna show that it is effective against all known variants of SARS-CoV-2, including Omicron - even in individuals who have not yet developed immunity to SARS-CoV-2 as result of vaccination (unresponsive cases). The survey data was recently published in the leading journal Allergy.
The vaccine, developed at MedUni in Vienna under the direction of Rudolf Valenta of the Center for Antifungal Pathophysiology, Infectious Diseases and Immunology, targets the SARS-CoV-2 virus receptor binding (RBD) regions and elicits a strong and steady response to RBD-specific IgG antibodies in animal models and in human tests. This antibody response prevents the virus from attaching to and entering the body's cells, so infection cannot occur.
Currently available genetic vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 cause mainly transient reactions to IgG1 antibodies, while the PreS-RBD vaccine may further induce long-term RBD-specific IgG4 antibodies.
“The PreS-RBD vaccine has the potential to induce sterility immunity to old and new variants of SARS-CoV-2 by preventing infection by stopping viral replication and transmission by inhibiting virus cell penetration,” said study leader Rudolf Valenta. Moreover, the vaccine is expected to be effective even in people who have not previously responded to vaccination (“non-responders to RBD”), as they will receive additional T-cell support from the PreS portion of the vaccine. An earlier study by Valenta and colleagues found that approximately 20% of those who recovered from COVID-19 failed to produce RBD-specific antibodies and were thus at constant risk of re-infection.
The development of this Austrian vaccine for COVID is largely inspired by decades of experience in the development of allergy vaccines. Previous work on allergy vaccines and clinical trials with PreS-based allergy vaccines have shown the safety of PreS-based vaccines, even when used repeatedly.
“Our data give us reason to hope that this easily manufactured protein-based vaccine antigen will be effective against all known variants of SARS-CoV-2, including Omicron,” said study leader Rudolf Valenta. “The vaccine is designed to allow multiple injections to build stable sterility immunity, is suitable for use in all age and risk groups, and appears to be superior to currently available vaccines in inducing neutralizing antibodies.”
If sufficient funding is provided, the first clinical trials required for approval could be conducted this year.
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