Italian biotech firm Takis has claimed that their vaccine candidate has become one of the first to successfully neutralize the SARS-CoV2 virus in animal models.

“This is the most advanced stage of testing of a candidate vaccine created in Italy. As far as we know, we are among the first in the world to have demonstrated the neutralization of the coronavirus by a vaccine. We believe this will also happen in humans," said Luigi Aurisicchio, chief executive officer (CEO), Takis.

The company aims to start human trials after this summer. It had shortlisted five vaccine candidates for experimental validation at the popular Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases in Rome on the basis of “extremely positive" results in animal trials.

“After a single dose, our five candidate DNA-based vaccines were able to induce a strong antibody response against the covid-19 spike protein in just 14 days in mice. Two of them, in particular, induced the strongest antibody production against the spike protein on SARS-CoV2," it said on 10 April. The firm, which is part of World Health Organization’s international collaboration to help speed up the availability of vaccine against covid-19, has now finalized one candidate that showed strong antibody response in mice.

It is now looking for funding and collaborations to move to the three phases of human clinical trials, which will be held by Pascale Institute in Naples.

The company has partnered with New York-based Applied DNA Sciences Inc. for manufacturing the DNA-based vaccine for both pre-clinical and clinical trials. The partners begin dose-response trials this week.

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