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Faculty of Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University is developing a prototype of a multivalent vaccine against coronaviruses

Мар 28, 2020
The Department of Virology, Lomonosov Moscow State University is developing a vaccine that can form immunity against dangerous coronaviruses in humans. There are seven known coronaviruses that can infect humans, three of which can cause severe diseases, namely MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2.

A unique platform based on plant viruses has been developed at the Moscow University Faculty of Biology that can be universally used to create vaccines against human pathogens. This platform allows producing modified vaccines quickly and at minimal cost.

Distinctive properties of the vaccine being developed at the Department of Virology, Faculty of Biology are: polyvalency (should be active against a set of coronaviruses), safety (due to the use of plant viruses as a basis), stability during storage and transportation.

When creating a vaccine, researchers of the Faculty of Biology apply an innovative and universal approach to make use of plant viruses as a basis, which is safe for humans, due to the absence of pathogens common for plants and animals.

The vaccine preparation platform is spherical particles obtained by short-term heating of the Tobacco mosaic plant virus. This platform is safe for humans, due to the lack of common infectious agents in humans and plants, but it can carry antigens (substances that cause the body’s immune response) on its surface.

Antigens located on the surface of a spherical particle are synthesized by genetic engineering (recombinant protein antigens), which allows to obtain a safe viral particle, at the same time causing an immune response of the human body to the main strains of coronavirus.

The developed approach does not require the use of a weakened or killed pathogen, expensive culture media, etc. The cost of producing spherical particles is relatively low. The major time is spent for creation of genetic constructs and the production of recombinant protein antigens.

Preparations based on this platform are stable during storage and transportation, they do not need to comply with the “cold chain”.

The method of creating vaccines based on spherical particles of plant viruses was developed at the Faculty of Biology of Moscow State University and is patented in the Russian Federation and internationally.

In general, the method of producing vaccines proposed can crucially facilitate and accelerate the process of vaccine production.

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