New Covid Vaccine May Provide Protection Against Future Stra
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A new experimental COVID-19 vaccine has shown promising results in early animal testing, according to researchers who say the preventive may provide protection against existing and future strains of the novel coronavirus, and cost about USD 1 per dose. The vaccine prevented pigs from being becoming ill with a pig model coronavirus, porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV).

PEDV infects pigs, causing diarrhea, vomiting, and high fever, and has been a large burden on pig farmers around the world. The new vaccine approach might one day open the door to a universal vaccine for coronaviruses, including coronaviruses that previously threatened pandemics or perhaps even coronaviruses that cause some cases of the common cold, the researchers said.

The vaccine offers several advantages that could overcome major obstacles to global vaccination efforts. It would be easy to store and transport, even in remote areas of the world. It could be produced in mass quantities using existing vaccine-manufacturing factories.

The vaccine-production platform involves synthesising DNA that directs the production of a piece of the virus which can instruct the immune system to mount a protective immune response against the virus. The vaccine takes an unusual approach in that it targets a part of the spike protein of the virus, the "viral fusion peptide," that is essentially universal among coronaviruses.

The researchers made two vaccines, one designed to protect against COVID-19, and another designed to protect against PEDV. PEDV and SARS-CoV-2, share several of the amino acids that constitute the fusion peptide. The researchers observed that both the vaccine against PEDV and the vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 protected the pigs against illness caused by PEDV.