Japanese scientists develop radical new vaccine that could prevent future coronavirus pandemics

Japanese scientists developed a vaccine to stop five types of coronaviruses including COVID-19.

Stopping the source: A study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine examined ways to prevent future pandemics through vaccination against severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronaviruses. This is a group of viruses that includes many strains.

Officials from the health sector have expressed concern about the possibility that viruses that have emerged in animals are now more likely to spread to humans. This is evident in cases such as Ebola, bird flu, Ebola and swine flu.

According to reports, wildlife exploitation such as intensive battery farming and the sale of meat products are responsible for these outbreaks.

According to Tomohiro Kurosaki from Osaka University, the lead researcher of the study, there is a risk of similar outbreaks in the future, given that coronavirus epidemics like MERS-CoV-1 or SARS-CoV-1 have been caused by zoonotic coronaviruses crossing over the species barrier.

One theory suggests that COVID-19 was transmitted to humans by bats.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus causes COVID by binding to the ACE2 cell membrane receptor in the human body using its spike protein.

Two parts of the virus were identified in the study: the core, which is common in all coronaviruses, and the head that is unique to COVID-19.

Experiments a success: Japanese researchers have successfully modified the spike protein in SARS-CoV-2 to prevent it from infecting humans.

The virus head was covered with sugar molecules, making it difficult for the virus to attach to the ACE2 protein in human cell.

The vaccine was able to significantly increase the production of antibodies against the virus in mice.

These antibodies were able to block both SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1, which are the viruses that caused the 2002 SARS epidemic. Three coronaviruses similar to the one that originated from bats or pangolins were also stopped by the vaccine.

According to the report, antibodies that recognize this viral head may block entry of SARS/CoV-2 but offer little protection against other coronaviruses. Antibodies that recognize the core can prevent entry of many coronaviruses from humans.

Kurosaki stated that, while broad neutralizing antibodies are possible, it is unlikely that current vaccines will protect against the emergence new SARS-related viruses.

Researchers are optimistic that ongoing studies will be able to replicate the success of the experimental-on mice in humans. This will allow for the development of a next generation vaccine that could lower the risk of future pandemics.

Featured Image via National Cancer Institute (left), Gerd Almann (right).

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