Massachusetts Eye and Ear Developing Gene-based Vaccine Against SARS-CoV2

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An experimental novel gene-based vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV2 is being developed and tested by Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Massachusetts General Hospital, according to a press release.

The AAVCOVID vaccine program uses adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector to send genetic sequences of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike antigen to help the body develop an immune response to the virus. The program was developed in the laboratory of Luk H. Vandenberghe, PhD, director of the Grousbeck Gene Therapy Center at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School.

AAV-based technology has been used in previous treatments, including the FDA-approved gene therapy, Luxturna, for the treatment of Leber’s congenital amaurosis.

“AAV is a superior technology for safe and efficient gene delivery, and the unique technologies we are applying in AAVCOVID support the potential for a potent immunity to be induced to SARS-CoV-2 from a single injection,” said Dr Vandenberghe in a press release. “In a crisis, we can harness the power of molecular biology and develop a draft of a vaccine in weeks, and that’s what was done here. Now, clinical studies are needed to establish safety and efficacy of our novel approach.”

Read the full press release here

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