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COVID-19 vaccine

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A COVID-19 vaccine is a hypothetical vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19). Although no vaccine has completed clinical trials, there are multiple attempts in progress to create a vaccine.

Background[change | change source]

In late February 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it did not expect a vaccine against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative virus, to become available in less than 18 months.[1] The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) – which is organizing a US$2 billion worldwide fund for fast investment and creation of vaccine candidates[2] – indicated in April that a vaccine may be available under emergency use protocols in less than 12 months or by early 2021.[3] On 4 May 2020, the WHO organized a telethon to raise US$8 billion from forty countries to support rapid development of vaccines to prevent COVID-19 infections.[4]

PittCoVacc[change | change source]

PittCoVacc is a vaccine invented by scientists from the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania in the United States.[5] It was invented to protect people from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. It was the first vaccine candidate, meaning vaccine that scientists thought would work well, published in a peer-reviewed study, meaning a scientific paper that other vaccine experts had read and approved before it was printed for people to read.[6][7]

As of April 2020, it has been tested in mice but not in human beings.[5][6][8][9][10][11][12][13][14]

PittCoVacc is short for "Pittsburgh coronavirus vaccine."[5]

Making PittCoVacc[change | change source]

One of the head scientists, Dr. Andrea Gambotto, said they made the vaccine so quickly because they had worked on other coronaviruses before: "We had previous experience on SARS-CoV in 2003 and MERS-CoV in 2014. 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. That's why it's important to fund vaccine research. You never know where the next pandemic will come from."

The researchers used laboratory equipment to make pieces of the same proteins that are in SARS-CoV-2. They put the proteins inside the bodies of laboratory mice using a microneedle array, meaning a small patch with about 400 tiny needles made out of other protein and sugar. One of the scientists, Dr. Emrullah Korkmaz, said these needles melt away inside the skin after they release the vaccine. The skin is a good place to put a vaccine because it has many immune cells in it. Then the mice made antibodies, or protective molecules, in their blood. The scientists measured the amount of antibodies and guessed it would be enough to fight off the SARS-CoV-2 virus if the mice were exposed to it. It took about two weeks for the mice to make lots of antibodies.[5]

The scientists said it would be easy to make large amounts of vaccine and large numbers of microneedle arrays to use on people.

APN01[change | change source]

Another team of scientists led by Dr. Josef Penninger of the University of British Columbia invented a medicine called APN01. They tested APN01 in engineered human tissue. This is human cells put together to act like part of the body, but it is not a whole animal or person. They added a protein called "human recombinant soluble angiotensin converting enzyme 2" (hrsACE2) and saw that it stopped the virus from taking over cells. They named their hrsACE2 APN01.[15][16]

Moderna vaccine[change | change source]

In mid-May 2020, a company called Moderna said they tested their mRNA vaccine in forty-five people and eight of them produced antibodies[17]but they did not publish the specific data or publish an article in a scientific journal.[18] Anna Durbin of Johns Hopkins University said it was too soon to tell if people would keep the antibodies long enough for the vaccine to work.[19] The United States Food and Drug Administration gave Moderna permission to test the vaccine again in more people. Moderna's chief medical officer said the vaccine could be ready in January 2021.[17]

Other vaccines[change | change source]

In late April 2020, a team from Oxford University said that they had developed a COVID-19 vaccine. The United States National Institutes of Health tested it in rhesus monkeys, and it worked. Because they had already been working on a vaccine against a different coronavirus, they had a head start working on one for SARS-CoV-2. They would try to test their vaccine on 6000 people by the end of May 2020, and that their vaccine could be ready for people to use in September 2020.[20][21]

Messenger RNA vaccines[change | change source]

Other scientists are developing vaccines that use messenger RNA to teach the body to recognize the virus. They say mRNA vaccines will take less time to develop and make than protein or whole-virus vaccines.[22][23]

References[change | change source]

  1. Grenfell, Rob; Drew, Trevor (17 February 2020). "Here's Why It's Taking So Long to Develop a Vaccine for the New Coronavirus". ScienceAlert. Archived from the original on 28 February 2020. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  2. "CEPI welcomes UK Government's funding and highlights need for $2 billion to develop a vaccine against COVID-19". Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, Oslo, Norway. 6 March 2020. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  3. Thanh Le, Tung; Andreadakis, Zacharias; Kumar, Arun; Gómez Román, Raúl; Tollefsen, Stig; Saville, Melanie; Mayhew, Stephen (9 April 2020). "The COVID-19 vaccine development landscape". Nature Reviews Drug Discovery. doi:10.1038/d41573-020-00073-5. ISSN 1474-1776. PMID 32273591.
  4. Damon Wake (2020-05-04). "World leaders urge cooperation in vaccine hunt, raise $8 billion". Yahoo Finance. Retrieved 2020-05-04.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 University of Pittsburgh (April 2, 2020). "COVID-19 vaccine candidate shows promise in first peer-reviewed research". Eurekalert. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Jacalyn Kelly, Tara Sadeghieh, and Khosrow Adeli (October 24, 2014). "Peer Review in Scientific Publications: Benefits, Critiques, & A Survival Guide". Journal of the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine. Retrieved April 3, 2020.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. Eun Kim, Geza Erdos, Shaohua Huang, Thomas W. Kenniston, Stephen C. Balmert, Cara Donahue Carey, V. Stalin Raje, Michael W. Epperly, William B. Klimstrad,Bart L. Haagmans, Emrullah Korkmaz, Louis D. Falo Jr., and Andrea Gambotto (April 2, 2020). "Microneedle array delivered recombinant coronavirus vaccines:Immunogenicity and rapid translational development". EBioMedicine. doi:10.1016/j.ebiom.2020.102743. Retrieved April 3, 2020. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. Eun Kim, Geza Erdos, Shaohua Huang, Thomas W. Kenniston, Stephen C. Balmert, Cara Donahue Carey, V. Stalin Raje, Michael W. Epperly, William B. Klimstrad,Bart L. Haagmans, Emrullah Korkmaz, Louis D. Falo Jr., and Andrea Gambotto (April 2, 2020). "Microneedle array delivered recombinant coronavirus vaccines:Immunogenicity and rapid translational development". EBioMedicine. doi:10.1016/j.ebiom.2020.102743. Retrieved April 3, 2020. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. Vincent Barone (April 2, 2020). "University of Pittsburgh scientists believe they've found potential coronavirus vaccine". New York Post. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  10. Jaime Martines (April 2, 2020). "UPMC doctors in Pittsburgh say they've developed a COVID-19 vaccine". Olean Times Herald. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  11. Victor Tangermann (April 7, 2020). "First Peer-Reviewed Coronavirus Vaccine Trial Shows Promising Results in Mice". Science Alert. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  12. Daisy Hernandez (April 3, 2020). "A Guide To the Global Battle Against the Coronavirus". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  13. Mark Johnson (April 2, 2020). "Tests of potential coronavirus vaccine spur growth of virus-fighting antibodies". USA Today. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  14. Victor Morton (April 2, 2020). "University: Potential coronavirus vaccine effective in mice, ready for human trials". The Washington Times. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  15. University of British Columbia. "Trial drug can significantly block early stages of COVID-19 in engineered human tissues". Eurekalert. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
  16. Vanessa Monteil, Hyesoo Kwon, Patricia Prado, Astrid Hagelkrüys, Reiner A. Wimmer, Martin Stahl, Alexandra Leopoldi, Elena Garreta, Carmen Hurtado del Pozo, Felipe Prosper, J.P. Romero, Gerald Wirnsberger, Haibo Zhang, Arthur S. Slutsky, Ryan Conder, Nuria Montserrat, Ali Mirazimi, Josef M. Penninger (April 2, 2020). "Inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 infections in engineered human tissues using clinical-grade soluble human ACE2" (PDF). Cell. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2020.04.004. Retrieved April 5, 2020. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  17. 17.0 17.1 Elizabeth Cohen (May 18, 2020). "Early results from Moderna coronavirus vaccine trial show participants developed antibodies against the virus". CNN. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  18. Alexandra Sternlicht (May 19, 2020). "Scientists Raise Questions About Moderna Vaccine In Market-Shaking Report". Forbes. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  19. Helen Branswell (May 19, 2020). "Vaccine experts say Moderna didn't produce data critical to assessing Covid-19 vaccine". STAT. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  20. Bill Bostock (April 27, 2020). "6 monkeys given an experimental coronavirus vaccine from Oxford did not catch COVID-19 after heavy exposure, raising hopes for a human vaccine". Business Insider. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  21. David D. Kirkpatrick (April 27, 2020). "In Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine, an Oxford Group Leaps Ahead". New York Times. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  22. Joanna Roberts (April 1, 2020). "Five things you need to know about: mRNA vaccines". Horizon. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  23. Norbert Pardi; Michael J. Hogan; Frederick W. Porter; Drew Weissman (January 12, 2018). "mRNA vaccines — a new era in vaccinology". 18. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery: 261–279. doi:10.1038/nrd.2017.243. Retrieved May 1, 2020. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)


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