Development of an intranasal vaccine against COVID-19
A vaccine against COVID-19 will be developed by a newly established public private partnership that combines the coronavirus expertise from Utrecht University, the viral vector technology and animal facilities from Wageningen Bioveterinary Research, and the vaccine production technology from The Institute for Translational Vaccinology.
The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in China at the end of 2019 has resulted in a COVID-19 pandemic with more than 4.7 million confirmed cases and more than 300,000 deaths. The rapid spread of the disease has overloaded the public health sector and severely affects the global economy. Clearly, a vaccine that protects against this disease is urgently needed in order to prevent further spread, ICU admissions and mortality.
The aim is to develop an intranasal vaccine to protect humans against COVID-19. The vaccine will consist of a Newcastle disease virus (NDV) vector that expresses the immunogenic spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2, which is an important target for neutralising antibodies. NDV has been shown to be safe for intranasal/intratracheal delivery in mammals, including non-human primates. The efficacy and safety of the vaccine will be tested in a pre-clinical animal model. Furthermore, a scalable vaccine production process will be developed in preparation of GMP productions once the vaccine has proven preclinical efficacy. The availability of a safe and efficacious vaccine against COVID-19 will have a large social and economic impact by reduction of severe disease and mortality, lifting bans on (inter)national travel and large gatherings, as well as by reducing the burden on the public healthcare system.