Scientists develop a new Covid-19 vaccine
Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Sci & tech
- Using a new platform, scientists have developed a Covid-19 vaccine that could offer protection against existing and future strains of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and also other coronaviruses.
- The new vaccine-production platform was invented by Dr Steven L Zeichner of the University of Virginia Health System (UVA).
- It involves synthesising DNA that directs the production of a piece of the virus.
- This can instruct the immune system how to mount an immune response against the virus.
- The vaccine targets a part of the virus’s spike protein called the fusion peptide.
- This compound is essentially universal among coronaviruses, and has not been observed to differ at all in the many genetic sequences of SARS-CoV-2 obtained from around the world.
- Most vaccines in development target either the entire spike protein, or just the receptor binding domain (RBD).
- While antibodies against the RBD can provide good neutralising activity, there can be mutations in the RBD that decrease the effectiveness of the antibodies.