COVID-19 RNA self-amplifying vaccine technology is safe in humans, a study suggests

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Dra. Katrina Pollock. Credit: Imperial College London

The results of the first trial of a new COVID-19 vaccine technology show no short-term safety issues.

The data, from scientists at Imperial College London, suggest that the technology can generate immune responses against COVID-19 in up to 87% of people, even at extremely low dose levels, the lowest of any candidate for the COVID-19 vaccine worldwide.

Technology uses called self-amplifying RNA (sRNA). This genetic information contains instructions for making a protein that is found on the outside of the coronavirus, called a spike protein.

Once injected into the arm muscle, the cells make this ear protein, which allows the immune system to generate defenses against the virus.

The team, which has published its data on a prepress server, is now refining the technology to produce future vaccines and boosters against COVID-19 and emerging variants.

The team is modifying the technology to produce a more consistent and strong response, even at very low dose levels, and will continue to do so. with updated candidates for the vaccine.

Boosters COVID-19

Professor Robin Shattock, who heads Imperial’s COVID-19 vaccine project, said: “Global demand for COVID-19 vaccines will remain high over the next decade, given the emergence of lethal escape variants. of lethal SARS-CoV-2 and the expected reinforcement requirement We have shown that saRNA technology is safe and can generate a . We are now refining the Imperial saRNA platform to develop vaccines for several other infectious diseases. “

Ultra-low-dose saRNA technology can protect against other infectious diseases, such as rabies and Ebola. Researchers also believe it could be developed to treat other conditions, such as cancer.

Professor Shattock said: “The approach emerges as one of the great scientific advances of the pandemic, with an ultra-low dose offering three key advantages. The first is the potential to manufacture a large amount: a liter of reaction material can produce at one million doses.

“The second advantage of a lower dose is the reduced likelihood of side effects. Finally, a low-dose vaccine opens up the possibility of combining the COVID-19 vaccine with other vaccines. We may now need annual vaccines against COVID- 19 and a lower dose makes combination with other vaccines, such as the flu vaccine, more feasible. ”

New trials begin as the vaccine candidate is updated

In the trial, 192 participants between the ages of 18 and 45 received several doses of saRNA , four or 14 weeks apart. The results showed that participants produced mixed responses. Some achieved good levels of neutralizing antibodies, while others had very limited immune responses.

Doses ranged from 0.1 micrograms to 10 micrograms of saRNA, with 87% of people generating antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. For comparison, the Modern and Pfizer mRNA vaccines have doses of 100 and 30 micrograms, respectively.

The side effects experienced by the participants were low, the most common being chills and muscle pain, and there were no allergic reactions.

The research team, which has sent its test data to an expert-reviewed journal, is now working on modifying the technology to produce a more consistent and strong response, even at very low dose levels. . They have recently started a new test with an updated version designed to increase responses by improving the level of RNA expression.


A sufficient dose of vaccine for COVID-19 survivors


More information:
Katrina M. Pollock et al, Safety and immunogenicity of a self-amplifying RNA vaccine against COVID-19: COVAC1, a phase I dose assay, SSRN electronic journal (2021). DOI: 10.2139 / ssrn.3859294

Citation: COVID-19 RNA Self-Amplifying Vaccine Technology Is Safe in Humans, Suggests Study (2021, July 2) Retrieved July 2, 2021 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07-self-amplifying -rna-covid-vaccine -technology.html

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