The tests carried out in the Virology laboratory of the Spallanzani institute indicate a positive outcome. The CEO Luigi Aurisicchio told ANSA, stressing that for the first time in the world a candidate vaccine against the new coronavirus has neutralized the virus in human cells. It is the most advanced level reached so far in the experimentation of a vaccine candidate born in Italy, but human tests are still expected after the summer.
It is not yet possible to reach conclusions “of any nature on the efficacy” of the “Takis” vaccine candidate: the Spallanzani Institute writes in a note, following the news released by the company, relating to the ability to neutralize the new coronavirus on human cells by the antibodies induced in mice. The note from the Spallanzani Institute also notes that Takis’ press release “has not been agreed with nor authorized by INMI” and that it has “participated in a research proposal presented by Takis in the context of an ‘urgent’ call launched to the European Community, which has not been funded. In view of the possible participation in further calls.
According to the institute “the results of these tests, still under evaluation, indicate that it is possible to detect a response in terms of neutralizing antibodies in inoculated animals, which is the basis for the development of a study model based on the usual animals by experiment “. The Institute, continues the note, “is currently completing these preliminary assessments, to decide on the advisability of continuing these studies and formalizing specific agreements”. In any case, it should be noted that “the IMI has not drawn up any official report and has not yet formally distributed the results of the examinations carried out” and “on the basis of the data available to date by the IMI, to the best of its knowledge.
For the first time in the world, a vaccine candidate against the new coronavirus has neutralized the virus in human cells, said Luigi Aurisicchio, CEO of Takis di Pomezia who developed the vaccine, explaining that the test done at Spallanzani was possible thanks to the experience of the institute, which after isolating the virus has developed a method to verify the effectiveness of vaccines and molecules directly on the virus.
The tests at the Spallanzani Institute
“Thanks to Spallanzani’s skills, as far as we know, we are the first in the world to have demonstrated a neutralization of the coronavirus by a vaccine. We expect this to happen in humans too,” said Aurisicchio. “We are also exploring other interesting technological platforms in collaboration with LineaRx, an American company. Some vaccines have received important funding and have already started the clinical phase in other countries. We are doing our best because a vaccine that comes from Italian research , with an entirely Italian and innovative technology, be tested in Italy and made available to everyone. To do this – he noted – we need the support of the institutions and partners who help us speed up the process:
The five vaccine candidates, how they work
“The results obtained to date are encouraging and far beyond expectations: after a single vaccination, the mice developed antibodies that can block the infection of the Sars-CoV-2 virus on human cells,” said Aurisicchio. After observing that the five vaccine candidates generated a large amount of antibodies, the researchers selected the two with the best results. The serum was isolated from the antibody-rich blood and the latter was analyzed in the Virology laboratory of the Spallanzani Institute. “We had seen the amount of antibodies induced, now we see that the antibodies are able to block the virus,” said Aurisicchio. “The next step – he added – is to understand how long the immune response lasts”.
“The molecular design of our vaccines took into account a number of important parameters to generate functional antibodies against the Spike protein, in particular against the region that binds to human lung cells,” observed the director of the Antibodies area. monoclonal of Takis, Giuseppe Roscilli. For the company’s infectious diseases director, Emanuele Marra, “to date, the immune response generated by most of our five candidates has an effect on the virus. We expect even better results after the second vaccination.”
Another feature of vaccine candidates is the ability to adapt to the evolution of the virus and its possible mutations, observed the company’s director of the NeoMatrix program, Fabio Palombo. “We are already working on a process that can be modified in a few weeks, if the virus accumulates mutations – he explained – and becomes invisible to the immune system: the same concept that we use to develop cancer vaccines”.