This new vaccine could prevent COVID-19 and yellow fever

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In a new study, researchers have developed a vaccine against Covid-19 based on the yellow fever vaccine, which as a result also works against yellow fever.

The research was conducted by a team at KU Leuven (Belgium).

To engineer their vaccine, tentatively named RegaVax, the team inserted the genetic code of the SARS-CoV-2 spikes into the genetic code of the yellow fever vaccine.

They then tested the vaccine in healthy hamsters and monkeys. Another group of animals received a placebo.

The researchers first vaccinated the hamsters and then dripped the virus into their noses. Ten days after a single vaccine dose, most of the hamsters were protected against the virus.

Three weeks after vaccination, all hamsters were protected.

The team also tested the vaccine in monkeys. They found in some of the monkeys, there were neutralizing antibodies already seven days after vaccination.

After fourteen days, high titers of neutralizing antibodies were measured in all animals. This is very fast. Moreover, in the vaccinated animals, the virus was completely or nearly completely gone from their throats.

This vaccine is the only vaccine currently in development against Covid-19 that also protects against yellow fever.

The effectiveness and safety of the yellow fever vaccine, which has been in use for 80 years, is well-established. More than 500 million people have already received this vaccine.

One dose offers fast protection against yellow fever that in nearly all cases lasts for life.

The team says the new vaccine RegaVax works after one dose, unlike many of the front-runners in the race today, which require a repeat vaccination after one month.

Finally, the vaccine can be stored at 2-8 °C, while some vaccines require a cold chain with temperatures down to -70 °C.

An inexpensive, single-dose vaccine that rapidly protects against infection, that can be stored and transported at fridge temperature, and that may, like the yellow fever vaccine on which it is based, result in long-lasting immunity, provides an important and much-needed diversification of the Covid-19 vaccine landscape.

His team is now preparing for clinical trials next year and has joined forces with a specialized and accredited company that will produce the vaccine candidate for testing in humans.

One author of the study is Professor Johan Neyts.

The study is published in Nature.

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