California companies are starting trials of COVID images that they hope will protect against the South African variety
South Africa has approved clinical trials with a COVID-19 vaccine candidate designed to protect against variants of the coronavirus.
Last week, the country’s Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) authorized two California-based biotechnology companies, ImmunityBio and NantKwest, to begin Phase I clinical trials.
Their candidate, called the hAd5 T cell vaccine, targets two parts of the virus: the spike (S) protein and the nucleocapsid (N) protein,
The S protein is on the outside of the virus and is more prone to mutations, while the N protein is more stable and less likely to mutate.
Researchers hope the inoculation will help protect against variants like the ones that emerged in the UK, South Africa and Brazil, which have been shown to lower vaccine efficacy compared to the original strains.
South Africa begins clinical trials with a vaccine developed by two California biotechnology companies. Their vaccine targets two parts of the virus: the spike protein, which is more susceptible to mutations, and the nucleocapsid protein, which is less susceptible. Pictured: The University of Cape Town, which will conduct clinical trials
Researchers hope this will help protect against variants of the coronavirus such as those that originated in the UK, South Africa and Brazil and spread across the US (above)
“The nucleocapsid protein appears to be much more stable and therefore has a lower risk of developing mutations that can cause the risk of vaccine failure,” co-researcher Dr Graeme Meintjes, professor of medicine at the University of Cape Town. told Quartz Africa
The first phase of the trial, which is also being tested in the US, will examine whether the vaccine is safe, effective and whether it elicits an immune response.
Volunteers receive two injections 21 days apart and are eventually compared with those who received a placebo.
Like Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, the ImmunityBio Injection combines genetic material from the new virus with the genes of the adenovirus – which causes the common cold – to trigger an immune response.
ImmunityBio says its vaccine can be stored at standard refrigerator temperatures, which are different from those produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
Scientists are also testing versions of the shot that can be kept at room temperature or taken orally, which would make the vaccine easier to distribute, Quartz Africa reported.
The trial will also examine whether the vaccine stimulates the production of T cells and B cells, types of white blood cells that attack against intruders and are key to immunity.
In a statement, ImmunityBio Chairman and CEO Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong – a billionaire biotech entrepreneur who also owns the Los Angeles Times – that he is very excited about the processes.
“We are excited about the potential of our COVID-19 vaccine candidate and the problems it could solve worldwide,” he said in a pronunciation
Unlike antibody-based vaccines, T-cell vaccines kill the infected cell, preventing virus replication and providing recipients with long-lasting immune memory.
Pursuing a vaccine that does not rely solely on targeting the S protein where the mutations occur is critical as multiple variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have emerged worldwide, with concentrated outbreaks starting in South Africa.’
The daily average of vaccinations has dropped to 1.2 million a day, but it still looks like President Joe Biden will reach his goal of 100 million shots in the arms in the first 100 days of his term.
Currently, 44.5 million people – 13.4% of the US population – have received at least one dose and 19.8 million – 6% of the population – have received two doses.
Also, Dr. Tulio de Oliveira, a geneticist at the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine in Durban, is participating in the study, which identified the mutation known as B1.351.
“Our scientists … have found that patients who recovered from the first wave of COVID-19 may no longer be protected from the new local SARS-CoV-2 variants,” he said.
“We are hopeful that by partnering with ImmunityBio, the now rampant 501Y.V2 variant in our country can soon be eliminated and protected forever.”
Currently, 44.5 million people – 13.4 percent of the US population – have received at least one dose and 19.8 million – six percent – have received two doses.