Fighting back against COVID-19

Yesterday afternoon the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine made a new discovery in the fight against the COVID-19 virus with a possible vaccination they hope can be rolled out sometime this year.

Researchers said the vaccine could be rolled out quickly enough to, “significantly impact the spread of the disease.” When researchers tested the vaccine on mice, it produced enough antibodies to successfully counteract with the virus. The vaccine is a square patch small enough to sit on your fingertip. Even though the vaccine was not studied on the mice for a long period of time, it was able to deliver enough antibodies to fight off the coronavirus within two weeks.

Scientists were able to act fast because they had already completed research from similar types coronaviruses: SARS and MERS. “These two viruses, which are closely related to SAR CoV-2, teach us that a particular protein, called a spike protein, is important for inducing immunity against the virus,” said Andrea Gambotto, M.D. associate professor of surgery at the Pitt School of Medicine.

With the success that has come from this vaccine so far, Pitt is now applying for an investigational new drug approval from the US Food and Drug Administration with hopes that they can start human clinical trials within the next few months.

The vaccination findings are part of the first peer-reviewed study that describe potential for vaccine. Human testing usually requires a year, said Dr. Louis Falo, professor and chair of dermatology at Pitt’s School of Medicine.  Along with UPMC, they are working with federal agencies to expedite the process.


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