What will tomorrow’s Covid-19 vaccines look like? – Community News
Covid-19

What will tomorrow’s Covid-19 vaccines look like?

One company specifically focused on getting Covid-19 vaccines in low-income countries is Lund-based biotech Ziccum, which has developed a technology to air-dry existing vaccines and convert them into powder forms that can’t be stored. or need to be transported in cold temperatures. Ziccum is currently working with Janssen – whose first-generation Covid-19 vaccine was approved in February 2021 – to investigate whether it will be possible to make dry powder forms from one of Janssen’s vaccine platforms. In the near future, this could be used to try to improve the vaccine situation on the African continent. Ziccum’s CEO Göran Conradson told the BBC talks are underway about using their technology in Rwanda, where less than 20% of the population has been fully vaccinated.

“We’ve been invited to Rwanda to see what we can do,” said Conradson. “There are a lot of initiatives in Africa right now. We’ve had so many contacts from the African CDC, the African Development Bank, the African vaccine manufacturers, there’s a whole range of initiatives.”

Even if some second-generation vaccines never make it to the market for Covid-19, the huge investment in research and speeding up production processes could still deliver major health benefits in the field of other diseases. Vaxart also wants to make vaccine-based pills for flu and norovirus, while CureVac and GSK want to produce a shot that will simultaneously vaccinate against coronaviruses and flu.

California-based biotech Gritstone recently launched a Phase I clinical trial in Manchester, using a method known as self-amplifying RNA (saRNA), a newer form of the mRNA technology. Initially designed for use against cancer, saRNA makes copies of itself in the cells of the body, meaning you can elicit the same response as an mRNA vaccine, but at a dose that is 50 or 100 times smaller, making the vaccine cheaper and easier to make. to make.

Andrew Allen, president, chief executive and co-founder of Gritstone, says the vaccine’s technology, which aims to boost more sustainable, longer-lasting T-cell responses against areas of Covid-19 conserved between coronaviruses and thus in all viruses are found in this family, can also be used to help develop universal vaccines against other viruses such as the flu. It could even help accelerate his existing work on cancer vaccines, which use biopsies to try to predict different targets for the immune system to attack as the tumor evolves.

But one of the greatest legacies of this newfound wealth of vaccine research could be to make the world much better prepared for future coronavirus outbreaks, something many scientists believe is inevitable based on trends over the past two decades.

“We’ve had three outbreaks of the coronavirus in the last 20 years,” Allen said. “We had Sars in 2002, Mers in 2012, and then Covid-19. I think we can all agree that there will be another coronavirus outbreak, and we need to be prepared for it. We need to be better prepared than last time.”

Join a million Future fans by liking us on facebook, or follow us on Twitter or Instagram.

If you liked this story, sign up for the weekly bbc.com newsletter, dubbed “The Essential List” – a hand-picked selection of stories from BBC Future, Culture, work life, trip and Reel in your inbox every Friday.