Vital work from virologists at the University of Nottingham has uncovered parts of the novel coronavirus which they believe could be used to form a vaccine and prevent further spread of the virus.
Working in close partnership with Nottingham Trent University and Scancell Holdings Plc, an organisation which develops immunotherapies for treating cancers, they are working on adapting the companies’ existing cancer vaccine to treat COVID-19.
With the University of Nottingham’s Centre for Global Virus Research leading these efforts, they have already discovered sections of the virus that they believe will produce an immune response.
“Our combined high avidity T cell and neutralising antibody approach has the potential to produce a second-generation vaccine”
Scancell are hoping to utilise this new research in order to design a DNA-based vaccine against coronavirus. “Vaccines are the long-term solution”, Professor Lindy Durrant, who is leading the project, said, “and we believe our combined high avidity T cell and neutralising antibody approach has the potential to produce a second-generation vaccine that will generate an effective and durable immune response to COVID-19.”
Professor John Ball, the director of the University of Nottingham’s Global Virus Infections Centre, added that “a similar DNA vaccine has already been shown to be safe and effective in cancer patients and so should rapidly translate into the clinic for prevention of COVID-19.”
“The city of Nottingham really goes to shine a light on what an important role higher education institutions play in terms of our battle with the coronavirus”
Nottingham Trent University are also opening up their cancer research centre to screen the new vaccine and determine its effectiveness. These efforts by the two Nottingham Universities comes after they were praised by the government in an earlier press briefing. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said, “the city of Nottingham really goes to shine a light on what an important role higher education institutions play in terms of our battle with the coronavirus”.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has warned, however, that a vaccine was unlikely to “come into play” until the end of this year.
Whilst Nottingham scientists face an ongoing battle to seek out a vaccine, the University of Nottingham’s Ningbo campus in China is slowly reopening with phased face-to-face teaching beginning on the 29th April.