New DNA-based vaccine being developed
The Hospital Research Foundation Group is proud to be supporting the development of an alternative vaccine for COVID-19 as another weapon in the fight against the global pandemic.
The DNA-based vaccine is being developed by the world-renowned Viral Immunology Group at the Basil Hetzel Institute (BHI) for Translational Health Research, headed by Dr Branka Grubor-Bauk.
PhD student Zahraa Al-Delfi said there were many advantages to DNA-based vaccines compared to the current COVID-19 vaccines which all focus on the spike (S) protein.
“DNA-based vaccines are known to have an excellent safety profile and can be stored at an ambient temperature, therefore eliminating the need for the expensive ultra-cold chain transportation and storage that is required for mRNA vaccines,” Zahraa said.
“They are also cheaper to produce compared to other vaccines and can be produced at mass scale within a short time period.”
The emergence of new COVID-19 variants means that there will always be a need to develop new vaccines, and to offer an alternative as the efficacy of S-based vaccines wane.
While not as prevalent as S-based vaccines at the moment, DNA-based vaccines are progressing globally as an option for COVID-19. One DNA vaccine has already been authorised for use in India and is being administered as the primary vaccine there, while two others are under trial.
The BHI’s vaccine work has been supported by The Hospital Research Foundation Group’s donors for more than 10 years, focusing on Zika, HIV and Hepatitis C before adding COVID-19 last year.
Zahraa has secured a PhD scholarship from The Hospital Research Foundation Group to continue developing the COVID-19 DNA-based vaccine.
We look forward to keeping you updated on this exciting work!