Novel COVID-19 vaccine candidate robustly protects non-human primates in opposition to SARS-CoV-2

The event of a secure and efficient vaccine will possible be required to finish the COVID-19 pandemic. A gaggle of scientists, led by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Heart (BIDMC) immunologist Dan H. Barouch, MD, PhD, now report {that a} main candidate COVID-19 vaccine developed at BIDMC in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson raised neutralizing antibodies and robustly protected non-human primates (NHPs) in opposition to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This examine builds on the group’s earlier outcomes and is revealed within the journal Nature.

This vaccine led to strong safety in opposition to SARS-CoV-2 in rhesus macaques and is now being evaluated in people.”

Dan H. Barouch, Director of BIDMC’s Heart for Virology and Vaccine Analysis

The vaccine makes use of a standard chilly virus, known as adenovirus serotype 26 (Advert26), to ship the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein into host cells, the place it stimulates the physique to boost immune responses in opposition to the coronavirus. Barouch has been engaged on the event of a COVID-19 vaccine since January, when Chinese language scientists launched the SARS-CoV-2 genome. Barouch’s group, in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson, developed a sequence of vaccine candidates designed to precise completely different variants of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which is the key goal for neutralizing antibodies.

Barouch and colleagues performed a examine in 52 NHPs, immunizing 32 grownup rhesus macaques with a single dose of considered one of seven completely different variations of the Advert26-based vaccine, and giving 20 animals sham vaccines as placebo controls. All vaccinated animals developed neutralizing antibodies following immunization. Six weeks after the immunization, all animals had been uncovered to SARS-CoV-2. All 20 animals that acquired the sham vaccine turned contaminated and confirmed excessive ranges of virus of their lungs and nasal swabs. Of the six animals that acquired the optimum vaccine candidate, Advert26.COV2.S, none confirmed virus of their lungs, and just one animal confirmed low ranges of virus in nasal swabs.

Furthermore, neutralizing antibody responses correlated with safety, suggesting that this biomarker might be helpful within the medical growth of COVID-19 vaccines to be used in people.

“Our information present {that a} single immunization with Advert26.COV2.S robustly protected rhesus macaques in opposition to SARS-CoV-2 problem,” stated Barouch, who can be the William Bosworth Fortress Professor of Medication at Harvard Medical College, a member of the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard, and a co-leader of the vaccine working group of the Massachusetts Consortium on Pathogen Readiness. “A single-shot immunization has sensible and logistical benefits over a two-shot routine for world deployment and pandemic management, however a two-shot vaccine will possible be extra immunogenic, and thus each regimens are being evaluated in medical trials. We look ahead to the outcomes of the medical trials that may decide the protection and immunogenicity, and in the end the efficacy, of the Advert26.COV2.S vaccine in people.”

Investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Heart (BIDMC) and different establishments have initiated a first-in-human Section half medical trial of the Advert26.COV2.S vaccine in wholesome volunteers. Kathryn E. Stephenson, MD, MPH, is the principal investigator for the trial at BIDMC, which is funded by Janssen Vaccines & Prevention, B.V., a pharmaceutical analysis arm of Johnson & Johnson.

Pending medical trial outcomes, the Advert26.COV2.S vaccine is on monitor to start out a section three efficacy trial in 30,000 members in September.

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