Center “Vector” began testing Russian peptide vaccine against COVID-19

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The Virological Center “Vector” has begun clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine based on peptides “EpiVacCorona”, said Anna Popova, head of Rospotrebnadzor. The “Vector” vaccine became the second Russian vaccine that reached the stage of clinical trials, the first was a vaccine based on adenoviruses, created at the Gamaleya Center.

“Just the other day, we received permission to conduct clinical trials for a new vaccine against coronavirus … We started yesterday, on the 27th, to conduct phase I-II clinical trials. The vaccine differs from all similar ones, it is peptide, that is, the vaccine does not carry a biological agent in any part, and therefore it is absolutely areactogenic “, – stated Popova, speaking at the virtual symposium “Impact of the COVID-19 and HIV pandemic on the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals 3.3”.

In total, about 150 vaccines against COVID-19 are being developed in the world. In Russia, according to Popova, 17 scientific organizations are engaged in the creation of vaccines against coronavirus, which are developing 26 vaccine options. The Moscow Gamaleya Center was the earliest to begin clinical trials of the vaccine – it completed the first and second phases of open clinical trials of a vector vaccine based on adenoviruses. This platform has already been used to develop a vaccine for Ebola and Middle East respiratory syndrome. The trials, which involved 76 healthy volunteers, were supposed to show the safety of the vaccine and its ability to create immunity. The results of the I-II phase of trials of this vaccine have not yet been published, for the introduction of drugs into practice, a third phase is required, but when it will be carried out, it is not reported.

The Novosibirsk center “Vector” creates several vaccines on different platforms, including on the basis of a replicating vector – the influenza virus, as well as protein vaccine variants. This option assumes that viral proteins or peptides are not produced in the patient’s cells, as in the case of vector vaccines, but are directly injected into the body. Viral proteins are produced in the laboratory, and then injected into the body along with adjuvants – additional irritant substances to which the immune system reacts.
According to information in registry Russian clinical trials, the combined first and second phase trials of the EpiVacCorona vaccine were registered on 24 July. Simple-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trials will involve 100 volunteers aged 18 to 60 years.

For information on what variants of vaccines against coronavirus infection are being developed in Russia and in the world, read our material “On the Point of a Needle”.

Sergey Kuznetsov

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