Scientists believe they are on the brink of producing a ‘universal vaccine’ that will not only protect people from COVID-19, but also against all forms of Coronavirus. Professor Luke O’Neill chats to Pat Kenny about how it will work.
Results of a trial of a ‘variant-proof’ COVID-19 vaccine is expected in the coming days.
That’s according to Professor Luke O’Neill, professor of biochemistry at Trinity College Dublin.
The US army is leading the race to find a vaccination that will work against all coronavirus variants.
Both Pfizer and Moderna are working on Omicron-specific injections, whereas there has also been a push for a universal variant-proof jab.
Last December, it was announced that the US army was developing a single vaccine against all COVID and SARS variants.
More than 410 million people worldwide have recovered from COVID, and 65.7% of the global population have received at least one dose of a vaccine – or more than 5.04 billion people.
Prof O’Neill told Pat Kenny this is looking promising.
“This is now the Moon shot, they’re calling it in a way, the US are all over this.
“Can we make a make a vaccine that will work against any variant of COVID-19? And indeed any in animals that might jump again in the next pandemic.
“There’s a massive effort happening in the US at the moment, trying to make what’s called a Universal Vaccine.
“It’s a great goal to have”.
He says while different variants have changing spike proteins, they are trying to isolate one that doesn’t.
“That can dodge the immune system, because the antibodies are to the spike.
“So Omicron has this massive variety of changes, basically, and then you see increased infections with Omicron as a result.
“But the question is can you find a piece of the spike that doesn’t change?
“And low and behold a place called the RBD – or Receptor Binding Domain – it’s common to all coronaviruses, and now that’s the one they’re focusing in on in a very clever way”.
Prof O’Neill says test results on animals have been impressive.
“They’ve taken the RBD… and they’ve stuck it on a nano-particle – a tiny, tiny particle – made of a thing called ferritin, studded with loads of these RBDs.
“[It] went into monkeys and amazingly it protects against SARS – the original virus – SARS-CoV-2, Alpha, Beta, Delta, Omicron.
“It protected against all of those in monkeys.
“They’re in the middle of a phase one trial in humans – any day now actually… we’re going to get the data from that phase one trial soon.
“That’s very, very hopeful that that US Army-derived vaccine could be the first universal vaccine against COVID-19”.
Credit to : Newstalk