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New nanoparticle immunotechnology may protect against SARS-CoV-2 and different coronavirus variants-COVID-19

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A team of researchers working on the development of various related coronavirus vaccines has designed protein-based 60 subunit nanoparticles with up to eight coronavirus fragments attached.

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech Pasadena, CA, USA) inject the vaccine into mice to induce the production of antibodies that react with a variety of different coronaviruses, including similar viruses that were not present in nanoparticles. I found that. Vaccine platforms, called mosaic nanoparticles, are shaped like cages of 60 identical proteins, each with a small protein tag that acts like a velcro. Researchers have taken fragments of various coronavirus peplomers (peplomers play a major role in infection) and have protein tags that bind to those on the cage (the other half of the velcro). I designed each one. When these pieces of virus are mixed with the nanoparticle cage structure, each virus tag attaches to the cage tag, and as a result, the nanoparticles show spikes on their surface that represent different coronavirus strains.

Viewing eight different coronavirus spike fragments (known as receptor binding domains or RBDs) on this particle platform generated a variety of antibody reactions. This is superior to traditional vaccine methods that present fragments from only a single type of virus. After inoculation, the antibodies subsequently produced by the mice were able to react with many different strains of coronavirus. Importantly, the antibody reacted with a coronavirus-related strain that was not present on the nanoparticles.

It learned that the immune system recognizes common features of coronavirus by presenting multiple different coronavirus variants to the immune system, and emerged as well as SARS-CoV-2 variants. A pandemic that suggests that it may have another cause in response to the coronavirus. The team is still studying the underlying mechanism of this phenomenon, but the results are promising. The next step is to find out if immunity prevents viral infections and / or infection symptoms in animals that make these antibodies.

“If we can show that the immune response evoked by our nanoparticle technology actually protects against infection-induced diseases, we hope that this technology can be advanced into human clinical trials. But there are many steps that need to happen in the meantime and. ” Alex Cohen, a graduate student who led the study, said. “I don’t think this methodology will replace existing vaccines, but it’s good to have many tools at hand when faced with the threat of new viruses in the future.”

“Unfortunately, SARS-CoV-2 is unlikely to be the last coronavirus to cause a pandemic,” said Pamela Björkmann, a professor of biology and biotechnology at David Baltimore. “Alex’s results show that it is possible to enhance a variety of neutralizing antibody responses, even against coronavirus strains that were not represented in the injected nanoparticles. Therefore, this technique allows humans. We hope that it can be used to protect against future animal coronaviruses that invade the virus. In addition, nanoparticles induce a neutralizing reaction to SARS-CoV-2, which may lead to COVID-19 and pandemics. Nanoparticles may be used to protect against other coronaviruses. “

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