Study on mice finds mucosal DNA vaccine effective in stopping COVID-19

A small-scale study on mice has revealed that a mucosal DNA vaccine can effectively halt COVID-19 in its tracks. An international research team has shown that, in contrast to the virus, which kills 100% of unvaccinated mice, its mucosal DNA vaccine can guarantee the complete survival of a group of mice infected with the variant that has been adapted to this species. Ten mice per group were tested in each group, according to the study.

This vaccine functions similarly to commercially available RNA vaccines because it was made using a vector created by a Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) researcher at the Immunology and New Concepts in Immunotherapy Laboratory, Nantes University, France.

The vector’s DNA enters the target cells, triggering the production of the SARS-CoV-2 protein and triggering the immune system to produce antibodies and lymphocytes to fight the virus.

What does vector mean in this study?

A vector is a component used in medicinal chemistry to deliver a molecule to a specific area of the body. The vector in this instance is a synthetic nano-, particle, whose characteristics enable it to pass through mucous membranes and introduce DNA encoding a viral protein into respiratory system cells.

Mucosal vaccination through the mucous membranes, which is less widely known, may offer effective protection against SARS-CoV-2 infections, according to the study.

It is believed that immune cells in the nose and lungs are better equipped to recognise and neutralise the virus that causes COVID-19.

However, according to the study, the effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing mouse-to-mouse transmission was not assessed.

According to the study, researchers are hopeful that an approach to vaccination based on this idea will be able to improve upon the current plan by, among other things, offering better protection against transmission.

About the study

The study titled, ‘Respiratory mucosal vaccination of peptide-poloxamine-DNA nanoparticles provides complete protection against lethal SARS-CoV-2 challenge’ has been published in the Biomaterials journal.

Biomaterials is an international journal covering the science and clinical application of bio-materials.

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