Because SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, was only discovered a few months ago, scientists are still trying to answer many big questions related to the virus and the disease it causes.
According to an article published on Thursday EBioMedicine, of the prestigious scientific journal The Lancet, when tested in mice, the vaccine administered through a patch on the size of the tip of a finger, it produces specific antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 in amounts that are considered sufficient to neutralize the virus.
However, among the vaccines developed around the world, PittCoVacc from the researchers of the University of Pittsburg is the first to be published after fellow scientists outside the institution found the vaccine to be promising. In January, CEPI engaged CSIRO to start working on the virus SARS CoV-2, which causes the disease COVID-19. Professor Andrea Gambotto, also a senior author, mentioned that the protein-spike protein-helps to induce enough immunity to fight the viruses inside the body. PittCoVacc is the first-ever coronavirus vaccine that has been studied and inspected by the group of independent scientists.
CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said the testing was made possible by collaboration both within Australia and across the globe.
In humans, laboratory-constructed pieces of the spike proteins would be delivered under the top layer of skin, where immune reaction is strong, via a fingertip-sized patch like a Band-aid armed with 400 microscopic "needles" of sugar in which the protein is embedded, which would dissolve into the skin, triggering antibodies, according to the doctors. The researchers said that the vaccination would feel like a Velcro and is probably painless.
The CSIRO has begun testing potential vaccines for COVID-19 at its facilities in Geelong.
There are now more than 200 ongoing clinical trials around the world searching for a cure, treatment or vaccine for the virus.
Grenfell said he expected human trials with one of the two candidate vaccines to begin later this month or early next month.
The SARS-CoV-2 microneedle also vaccine maintains its potency even after being thoroughly sterilised with gamma radiation, which the researchers added is a key step toward making a product that's suitable for use in humans.
Once manufactured, the vaccine can sit at room temperature until it is needed, eliminating the need for refrigeration during transport or storage.
There remains a lot of uncertainty, but experts TIME spoke with say that it's likely the reports of patients who seemed to have recovered but then tested positive again were examples of re-infection, but were cases where lingering infection was not detected by tests for a period of time.
"Like most vaccinologists, I don't think this vaccine will be ready before 18 months", Annelies Wilder-Smith, professor of emerging infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told the British newspaper.
Gorsky added that the company has two back-up candidates for a vaccine in the works as well and plans to develop a workable solution more quickly than the typical five to seven years it normally takes to bring a new drug to market. "Recently announced revisions to the normal processes suggest we may be able to advance this faster".