Swiss medical researchers on Wednesday said they have launched an early-stage study to test a next-generation COVID-19 vaccine candidate, which will be administered via an arm patch, to look at alternative methods of injecting. Latest for .
Unlike conventional vaccines that stimulate antibody production, the new PepGNP-Covid19 vaccine candidate focuses on T-cells, which are responsible for cellular immunity, to eliminate virus-infected cells and prevent it from replicating. Can you
British company Emerges Vaccines Holding Ltd has developed the potential vaccine, while Unicent Medical Research Center in Lausanne in collaboration with the city’s CHUV Hospital will run the trials, which began on January 10.
Professor Blaise Genton, who led the study, said this cellular immunity generates so-called “memory cells”, which could make the vaccine more durable and better than others at protecting against potential forms of the virus.
The potential vaccine will be administered through micro-needles in patches less than a millimeter deep, which they hope will provide long-term immunity to COVID-19 and remove the need for seasonal booster shots.
“With this new vaccine that generates this cellular immunity, we hope to have a longer period of protection … we don’t know yet, but it could be a year, two years, three years,” Genton told Reuters.
To administer the vaccine, the patch will be briefly pressed against the skin and then removed.
The study is the first in the world with the new candidate and uses the same technology, following the start of another study last year in Lausanne to assess the safety of a new generation dengue vaccine.
Emergex Vaccines Holding Ltd announced in November that it would begin testing a COVID-19 vaccine. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Pharmaceutical companies are developing other ways to deliver vaccines. India’s Bharat Biotech and partners Codagenix Inc and Serum Institutes of India are each trialing a nasal COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
The PepGNP-Covid19 researchers began vaccinating 26 volunteers last week and plan to give them two doses — a base dose and a slightly stronger one. They will follow the volunteers for six months.
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