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Researchers Investigate a Universal Coronavirus Vaccine

With COVID-19 still prevalent globally, how do we finally put the pandemic to bed? Some researchers suggest that a universal vaccine that is effective against all mutations of the novel coronavirus may be the answer—and they believe this is possible using a specially modified nanoparticle.

While researching a universal flu vaccine, investigators at the California Institute of Technology pivoted to begin work on a universal COVID-19 vaccination. Their approach uses a mosaic nanoparticle—a protein with spikes similar to the novel coronavirus—designed to adhere not only to the eight coronaviruses within the protein, but also other coronaviruses not included in the vaccine.

Appearing in Science, the team’s investigation, “Mosaic RBD Nanoparticles Protect Against Challenge by Diverse Sarbecoviruses in Animal Models,” showed the vaccine offered protection against a wide variety of coronaviruses in mice and monkeys.

According to the authors, “These results suggest that mosaic-8 spike receptor-binding domain nanoparticles could protect against SARS-CoV-2 variants—and future sarbecovirus spillovers, in particular—highlighting the potential for a mosaic nanoparticle approach to elicit a more broadly protective antibody response.” Based on the findings of their initial study, the researchers are hoping to begin human trials.

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