07/08 News Flash 4: Inactive vaccine candidate developed

Artwork by Jenny Tan.

In the race to develop a coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) vaccine, researchers developed PiCoVacca, a purified inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus vaccine candidate. To perform these tests, the research team first inactivated the harmful properties from 11 SARS-CoV-2 strains. 

The vaccine candidate induced antibodies in mice, rats, and primates, which neutralized the inactivated virus. PiCoVacc neutralized 10 SARS-CoV-2 strains, which means that the vaccine can fight against a broad range of the virus. The study used two different doses: 3 or 6 micrograms per dose. The subjects that received a higher dose of the vaccine candidate were more protected against SARS-CoV-2. After 7 days of infection, test subjects showed no signs of viral loads in their lungs. Furthermore, researchers did not observe the likelihood of antibody-dependent enhancement of infection (a phenomenon where patients suffer worse outcomes upon infection of another strain of the same virus). 

So far, the results are promising. The next step for vaccine development is for PiCoVacc to undergo clinical development and testing for use in humans.