The development of a vaccine against COVID-19, which gives lifelong immunity, is in full swing in Japan, according to the Japan Times. Clinical trials are planned for 2023.
The drug is being developed by scientists from the Tokyo Institute of Medical Sciences, the head of the work is Professor Emeritus Mitinori Kohara. The clinical trials will be conducted by the Japanese pharmaceutical company Nobelpharma and are expected to take place next year.
For the basis of the new drug, scientists took the smallpox vaccine, which was developed in the 18th century in Great Britain. It was used in Japan until 1976. Scientists believe that it is necessary to introduce the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the culprit of the coronavirus, into the recombinant vaccinia virus.
For 20 months, experiments were carried out on mice, which made it possible to observe the effectiveness of the created drug based on the recombinant vaccinia virus and containing the highly pathogenic avian influenza gene. The results of the experiments are more than encouraging: the individuals who received the vaccine showed high levels of antibodies and survived after the introduction of the bird flu virus. At the same time, the unvaccinated mice died.
The publication notes that 20 months is the average life span of a mouse. Professor Emeritus Michinori Kohara, Head of Research, notes in an interview Japan times:
“The characteristics of this vaccine have shown that it can promote antibody production and provide lifelong immunity. One dose of the vaccine is effective for more than 20 months, no other vaccine has a similar effect.”
Tests have also been carried out on cynomolgus monkeys using a prototype coronavirus vaccine. They showed that the drug protects primates from the development of pneumonia, and the level of the virus in the lungs was significantly lower than that detected by standard methods even a week after infection.
Nobelpharma Co is now planning a two-phase volunteer clinical trial of the resulting vaccine. It is supposed to involve 150-200 people, including those who have been ill and vaccinated with other drugs. The head of development notes: for the third phase of testing, one cannot do without significant financial investments from the state or pharmaceutical giants, either domestically or abroad.
The scientist also drew attention to another important advantage of the new drug – a life-long vaccine can be stored dry for a long time at room temperature:
“The current situation is such that we have to vaccinate almost every three to six months and we need to develop new vaccines every time the next variant of the virus appears. Therefore, if the effectiveness of our vaccine continues even for a year or two or three, it will save trillions spent on social infrastructure. “