We need some #GoodNews. Yes, this is a study in mice but this is so far the first peer-reviewed #coronavirus #vaccine study with promising results in @EBioMedicine published by @TheLancet from @PittTweet @UPMCnews @PittHealthSci vaccinologists
When tested in mice, the #vaccine, delivered through a fingertip-sized patch, produces #antibodies specific to #SARSCoV2 #virus. Researchers were able to act quickly because they already laid the groundwork during earlier #coronavirus #epidemics.
Compared to the experimental #mRNA #vaccine that entered clinical trials, this one - called #PittCoVacc, short for #Pittsburgh #Coronavirus Vaccine - follows a more established approach, using lab-made pieces of viral protein to build immunity (same way current #flu shots work)
Researchers also used a novel approach for delivery, a #microneedle array, a fingertip-sized patch of 400 tiny needles that deliver the spike #protein pieces into the skin, where immune reaction is strongest. The patch is like a Band-Aid & then the needles dissolve into the skin.
The system also is scalable. Protein pieces are manufactured by a "cell factory" - layers of cultured cells engineered to express the #SARSCoV2 spike #protein that can be stacked further to multiply yield. Purifying the protein can also be done at industrial scale.
Mass-producing the microneedle array involves spinning down the protein-sugar mixture into a mold using a centrifuge. Once manufactured, the #vaccine can sit at room temperature until it's needed; refrigeration during transport or storage will theoretically not be an issue.
The #SARSCoV2 #COVID19 microneedle #vaccine is also able to maintain its potency even after being thoroughly sterilized with gamma radiation, an important step toward making a product that's suitable for use in humans.