Researchers from the University of Minnesota have developed a novel virus-like nanoparticle vaccine that promises protection against the virus that causes COVID-19 and its variants.
The university's news release reported that the novel vaccine was created as part of a study and was successfully tested on animals. Researchers noted that they combined the advantages of two types of traditional vaccines in making the novel vaccine.
Novel Virus-Like Nanoparticle Vaccine
In the study, titled "Novel Virus-Like Nanoparticle Vaccine Effectively Protects Animal Model From Sars-Cov-2 Infection," recently published in PLOS One, researchers wrote that the key to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath is to develop a variety of vaccines that are not only effective and safe but can also elicit long-lasting protection against SARS-CoV-2 and its range of variants.
The team pointed out that recombinant viral receptor-binding domains (RBDs) are safe candidates but have limited efficacy because they lack the virus-like immunogen display pattern. Researchers developed a novel virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine with a surface containing 120 copies of SARS-CoV-2 RBD in their study.
They combined virus-based vaccines and protein-based vaccines to create the VLP-RBD vaccine by displaying a COVID-19 protein on the surface of the virus-like particle.
Researchers wrote in their study that this novel virus-like nanoparticle vaccine mimics the virus-based vaccines to boost its efficacy as it is well-recognized by the mammalian immune system and maintains the safety of protein-based subunit vaccines.
Novel Vaccine Another Potential Vaccine Against COVID-19
According to the news release, their findings suggest that the VLP-RBD vaccine induced stronger immune responses in animals than the protein vaccine alone by dramatically reducing the development of clinical signs and pathological changes in the mice that received the vaccine.
Additionally, the novel vaccine was highly effective against the SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. It efficiently blocked the virus from attaching to the receptor cells and neutralized the cell entry of its variants, the SARS-CoV-1 and the SARS-CoV-1-related bat coronavirus.
Lastly, the novel vaccine effectively protects the mice against COVID-19 infections. This shows that the VLP-RBD vaccine provides another potential effective human vaccine against COVID-19 and controls the virus's spread.
Coronavirus Variants Impact on COVID-19 Vaccines
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccines currently being developed or those approved ones are expected to protect the body against SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. These vaccines should be able to draw out a different immune response that includes antibodies and cells.
They emphasized that mutations should not render these vaccines completely ineffective. But if they become less effective against one or more variants, manufacturers could change the composition of the vaccines to improve their effectiveness against those variants.
WHO continuously works with scientists, health officials, and researchers to understand how variants affect vaccines, especially their effectiveness. The UN health agency always posts an update on the information about the impact of the variants on the effectiveness of vaccines in their Disease Outbreak News platform.
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