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Scientists create new coronavirus vaccine that even works on viruses they haven’t discovered yet

Scientists create new coronavirus vaccine
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Scientists have developed a new vaccine that could protect against a wide variety of coronaviruses, including some that haven’t been discovered yet, The Guardian reported. University of Cambridge researchers say this experimental vaccine is a step toward creating vaccines before a pandemic begins.

The new vaccine has been tested on mice and trains the immune system to identify key components of viruses like Covid, SARS, and MERS

Experts from Oxford, Cambridge, and Caltech in California are collaborating to design a vaccine that can be developed ahead of the next pandemic threat, DailyMail reported. The experimental vaccine, which has so far only been tested on mice, works by teaching the immune system to recognize key components of various coronaviruses—a group of viruses including Covid, SARS, and MERS.

“We’ve shown that a relatively simple vaccine can still provide a scattershot response across a range of different viruses,” said Rory Hills, a graduate researcher at the University of Cambridge and first author of the report. “It takes us one step forward towards our goal of creating vaccines before a pandemic has even started.”

Medical regulators currently don’t have processes in place for proactive vaccine development, so the researchers would need to collaborate with relevant agencies to create these procedures. If this vaccine proves to be safe and effective in human trials, one possibility is to use it as a Covid booster, which would also offer protection against other coronaviruses, The Guardian reported.

However, a more probable scenario is that countries would stockpile this vaccine and others designed to target specific pathogens once they have been produced and approved by regulators.

“In the event that a coronavirus or other pathogen crosses over you could have pre-existing vaccine stocks ready and a clear plan to quickly scale up production if needed,” Hills said.

Researcher calls for faster vaccine development to better prepare for future pandemics

Professor Mark Howarth, a leading author of the study, mentioned that these results could be a significant step toward developing vaccines even faster than those made during the height of the Covid pandemic.

“Scientists did a great job in quickly producing an extremely effective Covid vaccine during the last pandemic, but the world still had a massive crisis with a huge number of deaths,” Howarth said. “We need to work out how we can do even better than that in the future, and a powerful component of that is starting to build the vaccines in advance.”

The scientists published their findings in the journal Nature Nanotechnology and aim to begin clinical trials for the jab by early 2025.

About the author

Brendan Taylor

Brendan Taylor was a TV news producer for 5 and a half years. He is an experienced writer. Brendan covers Breaking News at Insider Paper.

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