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Scientists say clinical trials of “variant proof” vaccines may begin shortly.society

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Scientists are developing a series of second-generation Covid vaccines aimed at expanding protection against disease.

Candidates include one version that can provide immune defense against many different viral variants, but other researchers are investigating vaccines that generate responses specifically aimed at blocking the transmission of the disease. doing.

Other projects can work on different strains of the virus, but administer as a single jab in a manner similar to the annual influenza jab, which currently combines four vaccines against different strains of influenza virus. Includes research on the production of multiple vaccines.

Currently, the Covid vaccine is designed to prevent infected individuals from becoming seriously ill and to prevent hospitalization and death. It is not yet known how effective it is in stopping the virus that is transmitted from person to person.

Professor Jonathan Ball, a virologist at the University of Nottingham, said: “There is no indication that any of the new viral variants that have recently emerged are causing more serious illness than the original virus.” But there is evidence. Some of these new variants may be superior to infection Therefore, it spreads to populations with existing partial immunity after spontaneous infection or vaccination. “

One possible solution is a vaccine currently under development by a team of scientists, including Ball. Peplomer on the surface of Covid virus Not just another part of the virus called the N protein.

“Hopefully, this should provide a much broader response from the immune system and a much wider immunity to the virus,” Ball said. Observer.. “And given what we now know about the emergence of Covid virus variants, it may help us strengthen our defenses against disease,” he added.

Vaccine vial



The current crop of vaccines was developed to prevent serious illness rather than infection.Photo: Luis Robayo / AFP / Getty Images

The project, which also includes researchers from immunology company Suscan and Nottingham Trent University, has reached the stage where new vaccines are being produced.

Mr. Ball said clinical trials of the vaccine are expected to begin soon.

“The plasmids that form the basis of the vaccine are already used in other medicines and are well tolerated by patients,” he added. “Therefore, I expect that clinical trials can proceed relatively quickly.”

Scientists at the University of Bristol have begun developing vaccines that have the potential to induce antibodies in the nose and throat, taking a different approach.

“It is the route by which the virus infects humans. Therefore, if the purpose is specifically to produce antibodies in the mucosal lining of the upper respiratory tract, to prevent the virus from infecting or transmitting to anyone It helps, “said Adam Finn. University of Bristol Professor of Pediatrics, University of Bristol Medical School.

“In effect, you’re creating an antiviral equivalent to a UN blue helmet soldier who manages the war zone and prevents aggression.”

To achieve this, Finn and his colleagues are measuring antibody levels in mucosal secretions of people who have been vaccinated against the disease.

“By comparing the strength of these immune responses, we may be able to predict how good they are at preventing infection,” he added. “And from there, we were able to identify the vaccine that best prevented the virus from spreading from person to person. This was primarily evaluated on how well it prevented the onset of Covid’s symptoms. In contrast to current vaccines that are

This was supported by Deborah Dunn-Walters, a professor of immunology at Sally University. “The vaccines we’ve developed over the past year are arguably amazing, but not the end of the story.

“We started with a vaccine that protects about two-thirds of serious illnesses and 50% of virus transmission. All we have to do is improve this. There’s still a lot to do to beat Covid. “

Analyze numbers

A year after some of the most motivating news that plagues the country in modern times, there has been a dramatic change in the description of how we are proceeding in the fight against Covid-19. According to various standards, the UK’s outlook for the blockade is getting stronger and stronger in the relatively near future.

Although the number of hospitalizations, deaths and new cases has plummeted in the last three weeks, the UK vaccination program outperforms the vaccination programs in most other industrialized countries. Scientists have cautioned against moving too fast in response to this barrage of good news. Nevertheless, there is now a clear sense that a major change is taking place in the fate of the country.

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This was summarized last week by the University of Edinburgh epidemiologist Mark Woolhouse. “The data looks much better than everyone thought a couple of weeks ago, so now we should be more optimistic about what we can do safely.”

Other studies suggest that both Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines (designed primarily to prevent serious illness) also reduce the transmission of the virus from one person to another. However, it is not yet clear how much. Relatively high levels of infection block have an even greater impact on reducing pandemics.

But perhaps the most encouraging of all the statistics comes from Israel, the most energetic country on the planet in immunizing the population. Targeting the oldest citizens as a priority, as a result, hospitalization rates for people over the age of 60 plummeted compared to hospitalization rates for the younger. This is a dramatic indication of the effectiveness of the vaccine and has clear implications for the UK. Early signs also suggest that in addition to blockade measures, Covid jabs are beginning to reduce mortality.

“Vaccine performance is really good news,” said Woolhouse. “I have no idea how clinical trials will be reflected in a true mass vaccination program. But the numbers look very good. The vaccine protects very well from serious illness. “

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