In Italy, preclinical tests of an experimental coronavirus vaccine start. Preliminary results of this phase of the experimentation will take place in April, while clinical tests may begin in the autumn

(photo: Yegor Aleyev / TASS via Getty Images)

The search to find a vaccine against the new coronavirus continues to advance without stopping and at record speeds. Just think that only yesterday the United States began the study on a small number of people to test the safety of the vaccine mRna – 1273, developed by the Moderna Inc company in collaboration with Niaid. And today, in Italy, the Ministry of Health has just authorized the start of experimentation on animals for a new experimental vaccine , developed by the biotech company Takis . A green light that marks, even in our country, an important step forward (the first) to be able to have treatments that are effective in the fight against Covid – 19 .

These experiments, Takis points out, are the only ones of their kind in Italy and the first in Europe. “The authorization comes from the Ministry of Health and represents the first step to bring the vaccine to human use”, reads in a note. The first preclinical test results will be available as early as April and, if all goes well, the vaccine may begin to also be tested on humans at autumn next.

To develop the experimental vaccine , the researchers used of a single fragment of the coronavirus genome and were based on a technology called electroporation , i.e. in the injection into the muscle followed by a short electrical impulse that facilitates the entry of the vaccine into the cells, activating the immune system . From the first laboratory tests, the researchers observed that the vaccine “is safe and induces a strong immune system”. Now, therefore, we have moved on to the preclinical experimentation, which aims to detect the effectiveness and the tolerability of the experimental vaccine. As reported by the company, the tests will be carried out in collaboration with the Istituto Spallanzani of Rome, which will carry out experiments to verify that the vaccine is able to block the replication of the coronavirus in the cells. “The information obtained from these initial studies will not only serve as a basis for the development of the vaccine, but will be extremely useful for the creation of immunization tools for the generation of neutralizing monoclonal antibodies” , explains Giuseppe Roscilli , director of the monoclonal antibody development area and Takis partner.

This result adds Luigi Aurisicchio , founder and administrator of the company, was achieved without any type of external financing . “But now there is a need for the collaboration of the institutions and anyone who is able to contribute” , explained Aurisicchio. “For this reason we ask that a comparison be established with national and European agencies in order to speed up the next steps towards clinical trials. Also for this reason, in recent days in the absence of public funding for research, we have launched a crowdfunding campaign that aims to quickly collect the sum necessary to access the next stages of vaccine development, i.e. large-scale vaccine preparation and the execution of the clinical study. “

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