Efforts to protect people against COVID-19 currently rely on mRNA vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech and viral vector vaccines such as those from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca. While these vaccines greatly reduce the risk of developing serious disease, they vary in their effectiveness against recently evolved strains of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19.
Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute are developing a vaccine candidate to combat new variants of SARS-CoV-2. Their approach uses a modified form of the virus’s spike protein, which the virus uses to fuse with and invade human cells.
By injecting a more stable version of the spike protein, the researchers seek to provide the immune system with a better resource for making antibodies to fight off infection. “I think there’s a big gap between virology and how scientists usually develop vaccines,” says Jiang Zhu, a researcher at Scripps.
The mRNA and viral vector vaccines ...
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