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1 Jan, 2022 11:18

Scientist reveals when Covid vaccine with lifelong protection might be available

The jab, based on well-known technology, remains effective longer than existing ones and has fewer side effects, its creator claims
Scientist reveals when Covid vaccine with lifelong protection might be available

A Covid-19 vaccine potentially able to give lifelong protection has proved effective on mice and primates and is set for clinical trials. Production is planned for 2024, Japanese scientist Michinori Kohara told the Japan Times.

With all the existing Covid-19 vaccines requiring booster shots to remain effective, the emeritus investigator at the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science decided to create one based on the 18th-century smallpox vaccine, which is credited with the elimination of the deadly disease.

I have worked on various vaccine technologies such as the adenovirus and messenger RNA, but the vaccine using the vaccinia virus vector is the most powerful of all with few side effects,” Kohara said, adding that the vaccine “can induce antibodies and lifelong immunity.”

According to the researcher, one shot of a recombinant vaccinia virus containing the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus remains effective for more than 20 months, and “there is no other vaccine that can achieve these effects.” Two shots taken three weeks apart increase neutralizing antibodies tenfold, he said.

Testing the vaccine on avian flu-infected mice and coronavirus-infected macaques proved to be effective.

Clinical trials are set to start in the first half of 2023 with the participation of 150 to 200 volunteers. If the trials, which will be conducted by Japanese pharmaceutical company Nobelpharma Co., turn out to be a success, the final phase will be launched. Mass production is planned for 2024 at the earliest.

Meanwhile, a number of new vaccines are being developed around the world. Cambridge University professor Jonathan Heeney recently announced trials of a new needle-free Covid-19 jab that he hopes will be able to give broader protection against Covid variants and other coronaviruses.

A new Russian vaccine against the coronavirus, called Convasel and created by the St. Petersburg Research Institute of Vaccines and Serums, is set to be registered before the end of the first quarter of 2022, the head of the Russian Federal Medical-Biological Agency Veronika Skvortsova, said on Friday.

World Health Organization chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed optimism that the Covid-19 pandemic might be beaten in his New Year message on Friday. He called on all countries to work together to reach the target of vaccinating 70% of the world’s population by the middle of 2022.