Saturday, May 18, 2024

Researchers call for shift in focus of next-generation COVID vaccines

Next-generation vaccines for COVID-19 should aim to induce an immune response against “replication proteins”, essential for the very earliest stages of the viral cycle, concludes new research carried out by University College London scientists. By designing vaccines that activate immune memory cells, known as T cells, to attack infected cells expressing this part of the virus’s internal machinery, it may be possible to eliminate SARS-CoV-2 at the very outset, thereby helping limit spread. Currently licensed COVID-19 vaccines in the U.K. only trigger immune responses to the spike protein that protrudes from the outside of the virus. Researchers say the discovery, published in Nature, could lead to the creation of a pan-coronaviruses vaccine, that not only protects against SARS-CoV-2 and its variants, but against coronaviruses that cause common colds, and to new animal coronaviruses. Researchers say next-generation vaccines could be developed to induce both memory T cells to target replication proteins and antibodies to target the spike protein.

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