Stanford develops single-dose vaccine for COVID-19

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In a new study, researchers developed a single-dose nanoparticle vaccine for COVID-19.

Their vaccine contains nanoparticles studded with the same proteins that comprise the virus’s distinctive surface spikes.

These spikes facilitate infection by fusing to a host cell and creating a passageway for the viral genome to enter and hijack the cell’s machinery to produce more viruses.

The spikes can also be used as antigens, which means their presence in the body is what can trigger an immune response.

Initial tests in mice suggest that the Stanford nanoparticle vaccine could produce COVID-19 immunity after just one dose.

The research was conducted by a team at Stanford University.

Nanoparticle vaccines balance the effectiveness of viral-based vaccines with the safety and ease-of-production of subunit vaccines.

Vaccines that use viruses to deliver the antigen are often more effective than vaccines that contain only isolated parts of a virus.

However, they can take longer to produce, need to be refrigerated, and are more likely to cause side effects.

Nucleic acid vaccines—like the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines that have recently been authorized for emergency use by the FDA—are even faster to produce than nanoparticle vaccines but they are expensive to manufacture and may require multiple doses.

The researchers are hopeful that the new vaccine could be stored at room temperature and are investigating whether it could be shipped and stored in a freeze-dried, powder form.

By comparison, the vaccines that are farthest along in development in the United States all need to be stored at cold temperatures, ranging from approximately 8 to -70 degrees Celsius (46 to -94 degrees Fahrenheit).

The researchers think it is a solid starting point for what could be a single-dose vaccine regimen that doesn’t rely on using a virus to generate protective antibodies following vaccination.

The researchers are continuing to improve and fine-tune their vaccine candidate, with the intention of moving it closer to initial clinical trials in humans.

One author of the study is biochemist Peter S. Kim.

The study is published in ACS Central Science.

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