A team of researchers at the University of Washington Medicine said that they have successfully developed a vaccine candidate against the novel Coronavirus that is 10 times more effective than others.
While 45 candidate vaccines are in clinical evaluation and more than 150 COVID-19 vaccine candidates are in the pre-clinical stage, UW Medicine scientists said that the newly developed vaccine could be a game-changer, as there are many factors which make the vaccine different—such as its potency, stability, and manufacturability.
Dr. Neil King, who is a UW assistant professor of biochemistry, said the technology that the scientists are using "has an established track record. This one looks like it is ultra-potent!" According to the scientists, the vaccine appears to be far more promising than any of the candidates out there. Dr. King added, "We do think this is a highly differentiated vaccine candidate."
The New Vaccine Candidate in the Race
The findings were published on Friday, October 30, in the journal Cell. The lead authors of the paper are Alexandra Walls, a research scientist in the laboratory of David Veesler, a UW associate professor of biochemistry; and Brooke Fiala, a research scientist in the lab of Neil King.
Dr. King, who helped design the protein nanoparticle vaccine on a computer, said that "there is a very long track record of safe and effective protein nanoparticle vaccines. Whereas for mRNA vaccines, nobody has ever made one before."
As per the university, while may COVID-19 potential vaccines require large doses, complex manufacturing, and cold-chain shipping and storage, the ultrapotent vaccine—which is safe, effective at low doses, simple to produce and stable outside of a freezer—could enable vaccination against the Coronavirus caused disease on a global scale.
Dr. King also added that the most exciting thing about their vaccine candidate is—it carries 10 times more neutralizing antibodies than any other candidate vaccines. "It is exciting information for sure, but we need to test it in humans and really know how it performs," he said.
The Future Plan
While the clinical trials will hopefully take place by the end of the year, the scientists at UW Medicine said that they are currently focusing on the challenges which are bigger than the SARS-CoV-2 caused disease and the researchers are trying to address a cure for all the pandemics.
Dr. King told KIRO7 that this the third time when a virus from the Coronavirus family in the last 20 years jumped from animals to humans and affected the world. But he cautioned that "It is going to happen again."
Right now the researchers at the UW Medicine are hopeful to see how far their newly developed vaccine candidate goes. Dr. King said, "We hope that our nanoparticle platform may help fight this pandemic that is causing so much damage to our world."