“The emergence of another variant was quite predictable and there will be another after this one and that is why it is so urgent that we make vaccines that are lifelong lasting that will last for years,” said Erica Ollmann Saphire, Ph.D., President and CEO of the La Jolla Institute of Immunology.
It’s a seemingly impossible task, but Saphire says her team are confident they can make it happen.
“It’s going really well,” Saphire said. “Our first results are really exciting. “
Saphire and his team of more than 30 scientists began their research almost two years ago. It’s been a long journey, but they’ve made significant progress.
“We know what the T-cell responses should be, we’ve got the vaccine properly designed, we’re learning more about how to deliver it, so we’re going to go ahead iteratively,” Saphire said.
A new vaccine ingredient recently discovered by a nearby laboratory at the La Jolla Institute of Immunology is another step forward for the team.
“A new discovery from Shane Crotty’s lab is what’s called an adjuvant,” Saphire said. ” [An adjuvant] is a vaccine additive that tells your immune response, “watch out for this”.
Professor Crotty’s discovery is a possible way to improve the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine
“We’re much closer,” Saphire said.
Saphire says they are close to finalizing the research needed to send their vaccine into clinical trials and move closer to preventing the next pandemic.
The team received more than $ 2.6 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop the universal vaccine against the coronavirus. The full grant lasts for four years with additional funding arriving in the fourth year.