New Coronavirus Vaccine for Broad Protection at Lowest Cost

A new COVID-19 vaccine has shown favorable results in early animal testing, it is likely to offer protection against existing and future strains of coronavirus, amazingly costs as low as $1/dose, has benefits including ease of storage and transportation, mass production with prevailing vaccine-synthesizing factories, to help overcome obstacles in the way of global vaccination.

The new vaccine was formulated using pig model coronavirus, by Steve L. Zeichner, of UVA Health’s, which along with Virginia Tech researchers synthesized a vaccine using a novel platform invented by Zeichner, that can help with the rapid production of vaccine at a minimal cost in the existing facilities globally, to stun pandemic.

Zeichner’s platform works by manufacturing DNA which controls the production of a fragment of the virus, which in turn allows the human immune system to initiate an immune response to protect COVID-19. The synthesized fragment of DNA is inserted into the Plasmid, which when placed inside the bacteria (E. coli) can reproduce, thus allowing the bacteria to place parts of proteins on its surfaces. To enhance the ability of our immune system to identify and respond to the vaccine, most of the genes of E. coli have been deleted, including the one that forms the outer membrane of the bacteria. For vaccine production, fermenters (like used in common microbial industry like brewing) are used, later a low concentration of formalin is used to kill them.

A similar method is in practice in low-to-middle-income countries to form hundred million doses of vaccines against cholera and pertussis etc., and it costs $1/dose or less. Such factories can adapt to synthesize COVID-19 vaccine at a low cost and similar technology. This complete process is very quick and needs approximately 2-3 weeks, making it a deal method for responding to a pandemic.

Zeichner’s vaccine is novel since it aims at “viral fusion peptide” which is universal among all strains of SARS-CoV-2 and doesn’t seem to differ based on the data obtained from huge samples globally.

Meng and Zeichner made 2 vaccines, one is targeted against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) other against the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) both the viruses are closely related types of coronavirus. PEDV causes diarrhea, vomiting, and fever in pigs and caused pig pandemics in the US. Unlike other researches, that use non-native hosts ( in primates like monkeys or mice), this research offers the benefit of studying the vaccine’s ability to offer protection against coronavirus in the native host that is, a pig which has very similar physiology and immunology as humans. where vaccine didn’t prevent infection, it protected pig from developing severity of symptoms, suggesting that the new vaccine can be promising against COVID-19 in humans.

Further testing and human trials are needed before this vaccine could be approved by the Federal Food and Drug Administration or other regulatory agencies globally.


COVID-19 Vaccine, SARS-CoV-2, Pandemic, Medicine, Infectious diseases.

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