December 21-27 2020
A new type of vaccine ?
To be effective against SARS-CoV-2, a vaccine needs to generate a significant number of neutralizing antibodies targeting the spike viral protein (a surface protein). But to achieve this, a viral antigen needs to be transported and expressed. It now seems possible to use an already-existing vaccine, that which is used and is effective against yellow fever.
The vaccine against yellow fever YF17D prompts a broad innate, humoral and long-term protective cellular immune response. These advantageous characteristics make it possible to use its matrix as a vector to design other vaccines such as that used against dengue. This matrix, a small form of the RNA of a living, attenuated yellow fever virus, tolerates the insertion of foreign antigens amongst its viral proteins.
What is the best way to use this against COVID? Researchers have just succeeded in constructing a recombinant virus on the basis of the YF17D strain, making it express the antigen of the SARS-CoV-2 surface spike, thereby rendering it less virulent.
This candidate vaccine was tested on hamsters. The animals were vaccinated on day 0 with the candidate vaccine or with a placebo. On day 7 a second injection was carried out. On day 21, all the hamsters vaccinated with the candidate vaccine had developed specific neutralizing antibodies against the spike protein.
After 23 or 28 days, inoculation of the hamsters with SARS-CoV-2 was carried out intranasally.