Different ongoing trials are currently targeting Coronavirus variants, as the OG’s have been proven to have less efficacy on the multiple variants that are now resurging. People are obliged to take more than one vaccine shot now accompanied by the booster dose and maybe many other doses to come. Professor Jonathan Heeney at the University of Cambridge and spin-out company DIOSynVax, have developed a needle-free vaccine but will it be successful?
The medical community is very enthusiastic about the idea of a needle-free vaccine because as new variants emerge every other month, the medical community should adopt new technologies to make the vaccination campaign a success.
How Shall The Vaccine Work?
SARS-CoV-2 uses ‘spike’ proteins on its surface to enter host cells. These proteins attach to ACE2, a protein receptor found on the surface of cells in our lungs that allow the virus to release its genetic material into the host cell. To multiply and propagate, the virus takes over the host cell’s machinery.
Vaccines act as a messenger that signals to our bodies that there is something dangerous (infection, bacteria, and so on) and allows our bodies to react against it so that whenever we get the real virus, our body will know how to fight it.
Vaccines were supposed to give us immunization, but as the virus itself is ever-changing and mutating, there is a great probability that our immune system will not be able to recognize it. This phenomenon is known as the ‘vaccine escape’, where the virus finds a way to escape the vaccine effects.
SARS- CoV-2 Spike Protein
While most COVID-19 vaccines used the RNA sequence for the virus spike protein from the first isolated COVID-19 virus samples in January 2020, the new DIOSvax technology uses predictive approaches to encode antigens like the spike protein that imitate the broader family of coronavirus antigens, supplying more general protection. This will ensure that the vaccine will still be effective even if the virus mutates.
The vector is taken up by the body’s immunological cells, which decode the DIOS-vaccine antigen and pass the information on to the immune system. As a result, neutralizing antibodies are produced, which inhibit viral infection, and T-cells are produced, which eliminate virus-infected cells. The vaccination plasmid DNA is not taken up into human genetic material, and this technique is well-established.
The DIOS-Vaccine will target the ‘beta covid-19’, which are considered the most dangerous ones. These next-generation DIOSvax vaccinations should protect us against the variations we’ve observed so far, such as alpha, beta, and delta variants, as well as new variants and possible coronavirus pandemics.
One of the greatest advantages of this vaccine is that it can be delivered without pain, compared to the other vaccines where arm pain is a common side-effect.
The NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility conducts the first DIOS-CoVax studies (CRF). In the Southampton region, the study team looks for healthy participants aged 18 to 50. Participants were required to have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccination but not the booster.
The vaccine developer wants to produce a safe vaccine; that’s why they are taking their time to carry this trial. The initial phase of the trial will run for approximately twelve months.
All the clinical research establishments around the world are looking for a safer and yet better vaccine to control this pandemic. The situation is going out of hand in different countries with the emergence of Omicron and other new variants; let us know in the comments what you think about developing new vaccines; is it worth the shot?