Maybe this is it. But this is still a hypothesis, even if the scientific community is confident. Italy could make an important contribution in the discovery of the vaccine against Covid-19. As we anticipated a few days ago, an experiment is underway that is involving the Spallanzani hospital in Rome and two Italians. Now comes the confirmation that the Italian vaccine under study could be among the most effective candidates. Let’s see what it is.
Italian vaccine, progress in research
In recent days, the test carried out on the Covid-19 virus at Spallanzani has given a positive result. There is a great deal of pressure on the time: the results of the study started in Castel Romano should be coming up in two weeks. “And, hopefully – Luigi Aurisicchio, founder and administrator of Takis, pointed out to Adnkronos Salute – we will be able to start human studies after the summer: we want to do them in Naples, with the group of the oncologist Paolo Ascierto” . The Italian company had developed five vaccine candidates. The results of the experimentation in mice showed a strong immunogenicity, with a good antibody response. Furthermore, the two that give a better response have been identified “it is not so much the quantity of antibodies – says Aurisicchio – but the quality that is able to neutralize the ‘key’ region of the Spike protein”.
Peculiarities of the Italian vaccine
According to the research, the vaccines developed by Takis contain only a fragment of DNA and are based on the Spike protein. In addition, a technology called electroporation is used. In practice the injection into the muscle is followed by a very short electrical impulse which increases the efficiency of the vaccine itself. Italian research uses a fragment of viral DNA injected and immediately subjected to electroporation. A technology reproducible over time. And this is the interesting news: it can become a standard for immunization.
Caution for the Italian study
Many international companies have started research on vaccine. There are about a hundred vaccines ready to be tested. And some human trials are already underway. But Italy would not be behind in research. Rather. Caution for the Italian vaccine in these cases is a must and Takis is evaluating various factors. “We wanted to evaluate the effectiveness of our vaccines candidates with a functional test directly on the virus – says Aurisicchio -. We could only do it at Spallanzani. This allowed us to identify the two most promising. An Austrian company will then produce the vaccine on a large scale to start human trials after this summer”. The goal is then to access European funding for the development of a vaccine.
Many vaccines with different approaches: a single solution would be needed
Researchers want a unique solution, but we need to understand what the best immune response can be. “In Australia they are developing a vaccine based on the Spike protein – explains Aurisicchio -, which works well as an immune response, but less on immune memory. In Oxford they use a viral vector, generally a very promising approach, but with a flaw: after some administrations of this vaccine the body will recognize and block the vector, therefore if Covid-19 will be only the first in a series, this typology vaccine may no longer work against a hypothetical Covid-22.” That of Takis is different because it’s oriented to be repeatable over time if it will become a seasonal virus.
Featured image: ph. Aditya Romansa