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Cambridge University aims to start clinical trials of its possible coronavirus vaccine in the fall after receiving £ 1.9million (US $ 2.5million) in funding from the UK government, announced on Wednesday university.The scientists behind the vaccine said their approach, which uses genetic sequences from all known coronaviruses to refine the immune response, could help avoid the unwanted effects of a hyper-inflammatory immune response.

“We are looking for cracks in its armor, crucial pieces of the virus that we can use to build the vaccine to point the immune response in the right direction,” Jonathan Heeney, head of the viral zoonoses laboratory at the University of Cambridge , said.

“Ultimately, we aim to make a vaccine that will protect not only against SARS-CoV-2, but also other related coronaviruses that could spread from animals to humans.”

No vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, has yet been proven clinically effective, although 30 using a range of technologies are already being tested in humans.

Cambridge’s candidate, DIOS-CoVax2, is DNA-based. The computer-generated antigenic structures are encoded by synthetic genes, which can then reprogram the body’s immune system to produce antibodies against the coronavirus.

“This could be a major step forward in being able to give a future vaccine to a large number of people around the world,” said Saul Faust, director of the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility.

Professor Saul Faust, Director of the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility. Photograph: University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust / PA

This DNA vector method has been shown to be safe and effective in stimulating an immune response in other pathogens in early stage testing, the university said.

Although it works on a later schedule than some other candidate vaccines, the DIOS-CoVax2 vaccine would not need to be stored at cold temperatures and could be administered without needles, which could facilitate large-scale distribution. of the vaccine.


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