Home Health News Bandage-like coronavirus vaccine shows promising results in mice – The Mercury News

Bandage-like coronavirus vaccine shows promising results in mice – The Mercury News

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(4/2/20) photos of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh work on creating micro array vaccines in the area of coronavirus
courtesy photos

A potential coronavirus vaccine that is administered using a fingertip-sized patch with dissolvable microneedles produces antibodies that could fight the virus, a study in mice showed.

“The microneedle array is simply applied to the skin topically, pressed into place very shortly, and then taken off and thrown away,” said Dr. Louis Falo, professor and chair of dermatology at University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine.

Falo co-senior-authored the study on the vaccine candidate along with Dr. Andrea Gambotto, associate professor of surgery at UPSM.

It was published on Thursday, marking the first peer-reviewed research publication about a promising COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccine works using lab-made pieces of viral coronavirus spike protein to build immunity in the same way that current flu shots work.

The microneedle model is a small patch of 400 tiny needles that deliver the spike protein pieces into the skin, where the immune reaction is strongest.

The patch goes on like a bandage and then the needles, which are made of sugar and protein pieces, dissolve into the skin.

“We developed this to build on the original scratch method used to deliver the smallpox vaccine to the skin, but as a high-tech version that is more efficient and reproducible patient to patient,” Falo said. “And it’s actually pretty painless, it feels kind of like Velcro.”

When tested in mice, the vaccine produced antibodies against the virus within two weeks of the microneedle prick and it uses less vaccine than a normal shot.

Production of the vaccine, which is shelf-stable at room temperature, can be scaled up quickly to meet the crushing global demand, researchers said.

“Our vaccine platform is very conducive to scaling so we will be able to ramp up production using microneedle arrays very quickly,” said Falo.

Previous experience working on vaccines for the 2012 Middle East Respiratory Syndrome outbreak and the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome pandemic set the stage for researchers to create this vaccine candidate.

“These two viruses, which are closely related to SARS-CoV-2, teach us that a particular protein, called a spike protein, is important for inducing immunity against the virus. We knew exactly where to fight this new virus,” said Gambotto.

The authors are now in the process of applying for an investigational new drug approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in anticipation of starting a phase I human clinical trial in the next few months.

“Once we have been given approval we will be ready to go with the vaccine,” said Falo.

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