While the Biden administration is vying toagainst COVID-19, government researchers are also working on what form the next generation of vaccines will take.
They can be combined with the seasonal flu vaccine or available as pills or patches instead of vaccines. Scientists are also predicting vaccines that can protect against viruses outside of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), which can prevent future pandemics.
And they are assessing whether those who have been fully vaccinated may need booster photos later this year. Additional shots could be almost identical to the first doses, as a precaution against the possibility of weakened immunity or tingling to protect against mutant strains that cause concern.
Here is what we know about the landscape of the next generation of coronavirus vaccines:
The three major vaccine manufacturers with photos allowed in the United States, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, have plans to ̵
“With a lot of vaccines, we understand that at some point in time we need to increase, whether it’s 9 months, 12 months. And we’re preparing for that,” said Dr. David Kessler, chief research officer for the COVID administration’s response. -19, said the deputies.
Boosters can also be mixed with the annual seasonal flu shot. Moderna said it planned early trials of these types of combo shots this year. Other combinations of vaccines are now often used to immunize young children against multiple diseases in a single visit to the doctor.
However, administration officials say a decision has not yet been made on how booster shots will be used – or whether they will be needed at all.
What about the options?
While booster shots renew the body’s immunity to the virus by mimicking parts of the original strain first identified in China, vaccine manufacturers are also trying to change their doses to deal with newer versions of SARS-CoV-2. , some of which spread faster and can cause more severe illness.
This is not uncommon; seasonal flu vaccines are changed regularly to deal with mutations seen in the virus around the world.
Dr John Mascola, head of the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says understanding the SARS-CoV-2 mutations is a “major focus” for federal scientists.
The NIH has dedicated funding and researchers from across its campus to answer key questions about virus variations. Some scientists have focused on testing the effect of mutations on the effectiveness of the vaccine. Others are working to better understand and map its “epitopes,” places where antibodies can target the SARS-CoV-2 protein with spikes.
“It’s kind of like a basic scientific body of knowledge that can guide antibody therapies in the long run, but also guide vaccine design. Basically saying, ‘Can I figure out how the virus will escape, and can I explain that?’ “,” Mascola explained.
Both Moderna and Pfizer are looking for possible versions of their doses, adjusted for variant B.1.351, first seen in South Africa, although previous research has shown that their current vaccines may remain predominantly effective against the mutant. The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, which is not approved for use in the United States, has been found to offer onlyagainst the South African version.
“The reason they choose this strain is that it’s one of the ones we know about now, and the anxiety options that are out there are the most antigenically different,” Mascola said.
Mascola also raised the possibility that developing a booster with the South African version could provide greater protection.
“For example, if we amplify with strain B.1.351 and see that the serum antibodies are broader, not only neutralizing the original strain, but also B.1.351 and other variants, then this may be the preferred approach,” Mascola added.
Skipping the needle
Significant efforts are also being made to develop vaccines that do not rely on needles and syringes to be administered, as record demand has strained the complex global supply chain in the pandemic. Some projects could make it easier to store and transport the vaccine without the expensive freezers and dry ice currently needed for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
For example, future doses may be inhaled through the nose instead of being shot into the hands. The NIH recently presented promising results from a single-dose intranasal vaccine tested on monkeys similar to that of AstraZeneca.
The Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) last year also announced millions of dollars in contracts to develop a handful of other alternatives supplied by wearable patches or pills, deploying the agency’s experts to master developers through early testing and regulatory approvals.
Vaxess Technologies claims that the self-adhesive patch is stable and painless, delivering its vaccine through microscopic “bulges” that dissolve in the skin.
“We are working with companies, with different technologies, to partner with the six vaccine candidates that are currently supported by the US government,” said BARDA Director Gary Disbrow.
BARDA hopes that companies can show in smaller studies that they elicit the same type of immune response as currently permitted doses of vaccines, which could speed up their availability to the general public.
“Technology has been shown for other viral pathogens, but we are trying to support them in clinical trials. Again, the timing really depends on whether we can identify these correlates for protection,” Disbrow added.
Scientists at the Army Research Institute Walter Reed recently announced early trials of a vaccine that relies on “spiked ferritin nanoparticle” that showed some promising results against SARS-CoV-2 variants, as well as an earlier, related virus known such as SARS-CoV-1.
“For the last four years, we’ve been working on trying to move away from a virus, a vaccine. And try to really have vaccines in the future,” said M. Gordon Joyce, a leading scientist at WRAIR’s emerging infectious disease branches.
Unlike other currently approved vaccines, the experimental doses of WRAIR are designed to deliver engineered protein protein triplets that hope to train the immune system to produce more and more antibodies. Like other classic “protein vaccines,” the developers say these doses may be healthier than vaccines that require a carefully controlled climate to maintain stability.
Researchers say they are negotiating with trading partners for possible next steps for their photos. The current batch of doses being tested may become a ‘variant-resistant’ vaccine, a booster, or simply serve as “principal evidence” for future vaccines targeting broader groups of coronaviruses.
“We didn’t think we’d be here with a pan-SARS-like vaccine anymore, but it looks like we might be there,” said Caivon Mojarrad, director of the nascent WRAIR Infectious Diseases Branch.