Italian scientists claim they’ve developed a potential coronavirus vaccine by growing antibodies in mice — and have already shown it can nix coronavirus cells in a world-first breakthrough.
Local pharma company Takis says lab tests at Rome’s infectious-disease Spallanzani Hospital found their vaccine candidate can neutralize the virus in human cells, according to a report by Science Times magazine.
CEO Luigi Aurisicchio told Italian news agency ANSA that it is the first time researchers have found a way to subdue the COVID-19 bug, and human trials are set to begin in the summer.
“According to Spallanzani Hospital, as far as we know we are the first in the world so far to have demonstrated a neutralization of the coronavirus by a vaccine. We expect this to happen in humans too,” he told the outlet.
The scientists said their tests showed that with just one vaccination, the mice developed antibodies that can block the bug in human cells. They developed five different vaccines and chose the two that showed the best results, according to Science Times.
The vaccine candidates use a process called “electroporation” — a technique that uses high-voltage electric pulses to make the skin more permeable — to help break into the cells and trigger the immune system, Science Times said.
The report comes as researchers worldwide are racing to develop a vaccine to halt the global pandemic — a process that routinely takes years.
The virus has infected nearly 3.7 million people worldwide and killed more than 259,000 as of Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.