Coronavirus vaccine: Engineered virus tested on mice offers hope for protection against Covid-19, scientists say

Andrew Griffin
Tuesday 07 April 2020 12:03
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Covid-19 vaccine shows promise in first peer-reviewed study

A new study on mice offers hope for a vaccine against coronavirus, according to the researchers behind it.

The latest research successfully protected mice against a lethal dose of Mers, a very close relative of the new coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

Scientists suggest that the same delivery method could work against Sars-CoV-2, the virus responsible for ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

In the research, scientists used another virus that is harmless in humans, engineered so that it would produce the glycoprotein known to be involved in Mers infections. Mice inhaled the virus in one single dose.

When those same mice were exposed to a usually lethal dose of Mers, four weeks later, all of them survived.

Scientists now hope they can use the largely harmless virus – known as parainfluenza virus 5 or PIV5 – to deliver vaccines for other coronavirus diseases.

“Our new study indicates that PIV5 may be a useful vaccine platform for emerging coronavirus diseases, including Sars-CoV-2, the virus causing the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic,” said Paul McCray, a professor at the UI Carver College of Medicine and one of the authors of the study.

“Using the same strategy, vaccine candidates based on PIV5 expressing the spike protein of Sars-CoV-2 have been generated. We are planning more studies in animals to test the ability of PIV5-based vaccines in preventing disease caused by Sars-CoV-2.”

The research is published this week in mBio, a journal of the American Society of Microbiology.

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