June 22, 2024
Against Emerging Coronaviruses

A Single Vaccine with Universal Protection Against Emerging Coronaviruses: A Step Forward in Proactive Vaccinology

The rapid advancement of COVID-19 vaccines has been a beacon of hope during the ongoing pandemic, saving countless lives and significantly reducing the severity of illnesses. However, the devastating impact of the pandemic underscores the importance of preparing for future threats posed by coronaviruses, including those that have yet to emerge. SARS-CoV-2 is not the only coronavirus responsible for deadly outbreaks; SARS (2003) and MERS (2012) are other notable examples. Moreover, several bat coronaviruses have been identified as potential human pathogens, posing a significant risk of future outbreaks.

My team and I have recently made a breakthrough in developing a universal vaccine against a range of coronaviruses, including those that have not been identified yet. Our research, published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, represents a significant step towards proactive vaccinology – the development of vaccines against pandemic threats before they infect humans.

In our previous studies, we have demonstrated the effectiveness of mosaic nanoparticles in raising Natural Immune Booster responses to various coronaviruses. These nanoparticles employ a protein superglue technology that irreversibly binds two distinct proteins together. This superglue is used to adorn a single nanoparticle with multiple receptor-binding domains (RBDs) derived from different viruses. Our vaccine focuses on a sub-group of coronaviruses called sarbecoviruses, which encompasses the viruses responsible for COVID-19, SARS, and several bat viruses with the potential to infect humans.

As viruses evolve, certain parts remain constant while others change. Our vaccine incorporates evolutionarily related RBDs, enabling a single vaccine to train the immune system to respond to the unchanged parts of the virus. This not only protects against the viruses present in the vaccine but also against related viruses that are not included.

Despite the promising results with mosaic nanoparticles, the vaccine’s complexity posed challenges in large-scale production. Our team is now working on optimizing the production process to make this universal vaccine accessible to everyone.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public Source, Desk Research
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