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CureVac reveals early data for mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate

German biotech says vaccine demonstrated an immune response in phase 1/2

German biotech company Curevac has announced early data for its potential COVID-19 vaccine candidate, with the company revealing that the shot triggered an immune response in participants.

The investigational mRNA-based vaccine candidate, CVnCoV, induced strong binding and neutralising antibody responses in the early study, said CureVac.

To date, the phase 1 study has enrolled over 250 healthy individuals aged 18 to 60, with participants receiving CVnCoV at escalating dose levels of 2, 4, 6, 8 and 12µg on days one and 29.

In addition, the vaccine also demonstrated early indications of functional T cells, confirming activation of cellular immune response according to the German biotech.

Although the vaccine candidate was ‘generally well tolerated’ across all doses tested in the study, CureVac said the data supports the decision to advance the 12µg in the upcoming phase 2b/3 study.

“We are very encouraged by the interim phase 1 data. It represents a critical milestone in our COVID-19 vaccine programme and strongly supports the advancement of our vaccine candidate,” said Franz-Werner Haas, chief executive officer of CureVac.

“Following further data readouts and discussion with regulatory authorities, we remain fully committed and on track to initiate a pivotal phase 2b/3 trial before the end of 2020,” he added.

mRNA technology has been in the spotlight during the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, with a number of companies utilising this research area to develop innovative vaccines for the novel coronavirus.

That includes CureVac, Pfizer and BioNTech, and also COVID-19 vaccine frontrunner Moderna.

Although mRNA research is relatively new, and an mRNA-based vaccine has not yet been approved for any disease, scientists have identified the potential for this technology to prevent a range of infectious diseases. mRNA molecules enable protein synthesis by carrying the genetic code required for cells to manufacture and express proteins.

The hope is that by using mRNA technology to develop vaccines and therapeutic treatments, specific proteins and antigens can be produced by the body’s own cells, which would help the immune system to prevent or fight certain diseases, including COVID-19.

Moderna, which has completed phase 3 enrolment of its mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine, demonstrated rapid and strong immune responses against the novel coronavirus according to phase 1 study results published in July.

Moderna’s chief executive officer Stéphane Bancel said earlier this month that he expects to have interim results from the company’s late-stage vaccine trial in November, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Bancel added that the vaccine candidate could be granted an emergency use authorisation (EUA) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December, assuming that the data from its phase 3 trial is positive.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

3rd November 2020

From: Research

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