When is the vaccine against the Coronavirus?

When is the vaccine against the Coronavirus?

In view of the spread of the new Coronavirus appears, it is questionable whether the epidemic can be stopped. Even more important, a vaccine would be. In mid-February 400 experts agreed at a conference in Geneva, to speed up the search then, as the head of the world health organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told. In many countries, is currently working on the development of a vaccine. But how quickly he could be ready for use?

“Overall, I am very sure that we will be the first experimental vaccines are yet to see this year,” says the virologist Gerd Sutter, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich. If and when they could be tested on humans, was a different matter. “The development of a vaccine is a lengthy, arduous process, especially the approval and the clinical trial of a candidate.”

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Commonly earmarked for the development of vaccines about 15 years. For the Mers Virus, which was discovered in 2012 on the Arabian Peninsula, and also belongs to the corona virus, is a vaccine, it is only since 2018 clinically.

Genetic information is not sufficient for vaccine production

However, teams of researchers have announced in the world, a vaccine against the Virus Sars-CoV-2 to develop. They rely mainly on biotechnological processes – to reduce the time a vaccine candidate for testing in clinical trials to provide. It will not be needed as usual, the virus-even for the manufacture of a vaccine, but only their genetic Information. The sequence of the new Virus since weeks.

All the information for its propagation – is this also for the manufacture of those components to which the body responds to vaccination with the formation of antibodies and other defensive substances. In the case of corona viruses, the envelope Protein of the virus, explained Sutter. “The Virus uses the Protein to human cells invade.”

On this Protein, the vaccine developer concentrate. In China, the hospital of the Shanghai Tonji University is working together with the company Stermirna Therapeutics to a mRNA vaccine, the official Xinhua news Agency reported. The biopharmaceutical company CureVac is headquartered in Tübingen relies on mRNA.

This molecule in the cells provides the implementation of the genetic material of the plug-in information in a Protein. The Instructions for the coat Protein of Sars-CoV-2 pack the CureVac scientists in nano-particles that deliver the mRNA in the cells. The cells form the Envelope protein and presenting it on their surface, whereupon the immune system is mobilized.

“The procedure mimics a concept of nature,” says Mariola Fotin-Mleczek from CureVac Board of Directors. “We achieve a very strong activation of the immune system.”

In cooperation with the Team and Sutter is also a group of the virologist Stephan Becker of the University of Marburg working on a vaccine. You can use it as a Transporter for the coat Protein of a Virus that makes people sick. It penetrates to vaccination in cells and is the coat Protein that is recognized by the immune system. The construction of the Vaccine virus and the first production steps are expected to be completed by the end of March, explained Becker.

Sutter and Becker are one of the developers of the vaccine against the Mers-Coronavirus. The concept you want to customize for the new Coronavirus. Besides saving time, an advantage of the biotechnological processes is the fact that a once established concept can be quickly to new pathogens adapted. Only the Instructions for the Protein to which the body reacts, it must be replaced to.

Vaccine testing devours time

The development of a vaccine candidate, however, is only the first step in the direction of vaccine properly tedious it is going to: registration and clinical examination of the candidates are in the development phase, the Lingen on most of the time. “There is a candidate, can you check in the animal model, whether antibodies are formed and whether these inhibit the Virus,” explains Becker. Next to be examined whether it can protect animals with the active ingredient prior to infection, then the vaccine will be produced in a large scale and have been toxicologically tested. “If all goes well, you can make a request for a clinical study.”

For Becker a necessary procedure. “These vaccines must be safe, otherwise you are doing yourself no good.” When the political or medical pressure is high enough, would accelerate the authorisation procedure. During the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, for instance, the permission for the clinical study had been granted very quickly by the competent Paul-Ehrlich-Institut.

Becker is optimistic to get even for a candidate against Sars-CoV-2 relatively fast approval for a clinical study, precisely because the platform was already established in connection with the Mers vaccine.

But a vaccine may be ready in time to influence the course of the current epidemic? “We don’t know how the epidemic is evolving,” says Becker. If the Virus is established, would be a vaccine very helpful. “I think the invested money is good.”

WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan believes that the first vaccine could begin human testing in three to four months. A certified vaccine for far-reaching applications am but probably only in 18 months.

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