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Positive results for GSK/CureVac’s COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine candidate generated strong immune responses in preclinical testing

A second-generation mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine, developed as part of a collaboration between GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and CureVac, has yielded some positive results in preclinical testing.

The vaccine candidate – CV2CoV – has been developed as part of a collaboration announced by GSK and CureVac in February.

The partnership is focusing on developing a novel mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine by using multivalent and monovalent approaches to offer broader protection against newly emerging variants.

In an early study, the next-generation mRNA vaccine induced high levels of antigen production and strong immune responses in vaccinated animal subjects.

The data also showed that CV2CoV was able to generate significant cross-neutralisation against a number of COVID-19 variants, including the B.1.1.298 (first discovered in Denmark), the B.1.1.7 (first discovered in the UK) and B.1.351 (first discovered in South Africa) variants.

The preclinical trial tested CV2CoV in a dose range of 0.5-40µg, with fast onset of strong immune responses observed following the first dose.

“mRNA technology has made tremendous progress since the clinical development of first-generation mRNA COVID-19 vaccine candidates started in early 2020,” said Igor Splawski, chief scientific officer of CureVac.

“Spurred by the emergence of virus variants that have the potential to affect the efficacy of currently approved first-generation mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, CureVac and GSK aim to jointly develop second-generation vaccine candidates that offer improved immune responses and target emerging variants. Combined with lower doses, these second-generation vaccines could also enable broad protection against selected strains in a multivalent vaccine format,” he added.

Following the positive preclinical results, GSK and CureVac are expecting to launch the first-in-human clinical trials of CV2CoV in the third quarter of 2021.

CureVac’s first-generation mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is also currently in late-stage testing, with chief executive officer Franz-Werner Haas recently telling CNBC that the company is planning for potential approval in the EU as early as June.

Data from the pivotal HERALD study is expected soon, with this study having enrolled over 40,000 participants across Europe and Latin America.

Ahead of the potential regulatory approval in the EU, CureVac said that it expects to expand its production network throughout 2021 with the aim of manufacturing up to 300 million doses this year.

The company also recently increased its capacity guidance for 2022 from up to 600 million to up to one billion doses.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

14th May 2021

From: Research

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