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Scholars in China have developed a universal design for betacoronavirus vaccines, targeting COVID19, SARS and MERS

2020/6/29 17:22:55   source:Global Times

A staff member displays samples of the COVID-19 inactivated vaccine at Sinovac Biotech Ltd., in Beijing, capital of China, March 16, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Yuwei)

Scholars in China have developed a universal design for vaccines to fight against COVID-19, SARS, and MERS, which are caused by betacoronaviruses, according to a new study published in Cell on Sunday. The submitted design can be universally applied to other betacoronavirus vaccines and address new threats that may arise in the future.

Gao Fu, director of China's CDC, and Dai Lianpan, a research fellow from Beijing Institute of Life Science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, are among the lead scholars involved in the research.

The research team believes that a CoV spike receptor-binding domain (RBD), an attractive vaccine target, is restricted due to its limited immunogenicity. It describes a dimeric form of MERS-CoV RBD that can overcome this restriction, according to the article titled "A universal design of betacoronavirus vaccines against COVID-19, MERS and SARS."

The team also applied this strategy to design vaccines against COVID-19 and SARS, which then produced a 10 to 100-fold enhancement of neutralizing antibody (NAb) titers, according to the article.

Moreover, the research team found that RBD dimer immunogens can be produced at high yields in pilot scale production, which is hoped to support clinical research in the future.

The study was carried out by Chinese scholars from multiple institutions, including the Beijing Institutes of Life Science of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, China's CDC, and Laval University of Canada.

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