Coronavirus: Can a Smallpox Vaccine Protect Against COVID-19?

Coronavirus: Can a Smallpox Vaccine Protect Against COVID-19?

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SARS-CoV-2: Researchers test promising vaccine based on a pox virus

According to official figures, more than 4.5 million people worldwide have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. In order to curb the spread of the novel pathogen, the main focus is on “social distancing”. According to a model study, social isolation would have to be maintained until around 2022 if vaccination against the virus is not available beforehand. A smallpox vaccine could help in the search for a suitable remedy.

More and more people are wondering when the first vaccination against the new coronavirus will be available. Researchers around the world are working on vaccines. In Germany, the first approval was recently granted to test one on humans. Scientists from Hanover are also now reporting on a vaccine that could help against SARS-CoV-2.

Old acquaintances are also used in the search for vaccines

As the Hannover Medical School (MHH) explains in a recent release, science is sometimes relying on old friends in search of a suitable vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

In cooperation with the Ludwig Maximilans University (LMU) Munich, the institute for immunology of the MHH tests under the direction of Professor Dr. Reinhold Förster a promising vaccine based on a smallpox virus.

According to the information, the modified Vakzinia Virus Ankara (MVA) has been used as a ferry since the early 1990s to inject genetic material into body cells and trigger an immune response.

Vaccination also works in humans

In the current case, the scientists also want to insert the building instructions for the so-called spike or S protein in the smallpox vaccine, which is located on the surface of SARS-CoV-2 and enables cells to be infected.

As explained in the communication, the virus fragment is said to stimulate the body's immune system after vaccination to form protective antibodies against the coronavirus.

"A genetically modified MVA was developed by my Munich colleague Professor Dr. Gerd Suttner has already been developed against the related MERS virus and successfully tested on dromedaries, ”explains Professor Förster. "The animals were immune to the MERS virus after vaccination."

Another study has just confirmed that vaccination works in humans. Now the pox vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is to be used and initially tested on mice.

Vaccine is administered through the respiratory tract

The LMU also wants to test the new vaccine vector and vaccinate mice with the genetically modified MVA. But unlike in Munich, the researchers in Hanover are trying out a new approach. They give the vaccine through the respiratory tract.

"In our view, vaccination by inhalation has the advantage that it triggers a particularly strong immune response exactly where the virus strikes particularly hard - namely in the lungs," explains the immunologist.

If the vaccination is successful in animal experiments, MVA-SARS-CoV-2-S should also be tested on humans. To this end, the MHH Institute of Immunology, together with clinical partners, wants to conduct a study with 30 participants.

Development of a new test for the detection of SARS-CoV-2

The scientific team does not only want to investigate whether the vaccination actually produces antibodies against the virus. Professor Förster also wants to develop a new test for the detection of SARS-CoV-2.

According to the information, this new test should not only detect antibodies against the virus, but also answer the question of how well they protect against renewed infection.

"This is important to identify all the people who have had an infection without symptoms of the disease and are now immune without knowing it." (Ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Video: The Coronavirus Vaccine Explained. COVID-19 (June 2022).