02 December 2020

Fast-acting vaccine

A coronavirus vaccine was created based on the yellow fever vaccination


On the basis of vaccination against yellow fever, scientists have created a fast-acting vaccine against a new type of coronavirus. Its safety and effectiveness have been successfully tested on mice, hamsters and monkeys. An article describing the study was published by the scientific journal Nature (Sanchez-Felipe et al., A single-dose live-attenuated YF17D-vectored SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate).

A new type of coronavirus vaccine is being developed and tested all over the world. The last phases of clinical trials of some drugs are planned to be completed in early 2021.

Virologists led by Professor Johan Neits of the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium) have developed another similar vaccine. It was created on the basis of the YF17D virus, a weakened version of the yellow fever pathogen. Scientists chose this virus because YF17D has already been used to create two other vaccines – against Japanese encephalitis and dengue fever.

Scientists inserted fragments of coronavirus RNA into the YF17D genome, which are responsible for assembling some segments of two key components of its shell – S-protein and N-protein. Having created a culture of such viral particles, scientists tested their effect on mice, hamsters and crab-eating macaques.

On the one hand, the experiments confirmed that the experimental vaccine was safe for all tested animals. On the other hand, it turned out that these viral particles acted on mammalian immunity unusually quickly. Ten days after the first injection, they forced the immune system to produce a record number of antibodies.

Nates and his colleagues believe that due to such properties, the vaccine is particularly interesting for further clinical trials in humans. 

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