Japanese scientists develop lifelong vaccine against COVID-19

A group of scientists from the Tokyo Institute of Medical Sciences, led by Professor Mitinori Kohara, is working on the drug. They based their work on a smallpox vaccine developed back in the 18th century in Great Britain and used in Japan until 1976. The idea of the researchers was to introduce the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus into the recombinant smallpox virus.

In experiments on mice, they used the highly pathogenic avian influenza gene. The results showed that at the end of 20 months, the vaccinated individuals had high levels of antibodies and were also able to survive the introduction of the virus. At the same time, all unvaccinated mice died. The article notes that 20 months is the approximate average lifespan of rodents.

"The characteristics of this vaccine have shown that it can promote antibody production and give lifelong immunity. A single dose maintains the effect for more than 20 months; no other vaccine has a similar effect."

In addition, a prototype coronavirus vaccine tested on crab-eating macaques protected the primates from developing pneumonia, and the concentration of the virus in their lungs was lower than what is detectable even seven days after infection.

Now tentatively in 2023, Nobelpharma Co. intends to conduct Phase I and Phase II clinical trials of the development with 150 to 200 volunteers, including those who have had the disease and have been fully vaccinated with other drugs. The third will require additional investment.

In addition to a long-lasting immune response, another big advantage of the new vaccine is that it can be stored dry at room temperature for a long time, according to Prof. Kohara.


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