Intranasal Polyvalent Nanovaccine against Coronavirus
To stop the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and adequately respond to upcoming coronavirus outbreaks, which are expected to increase in the future, the NanoVac project has been devised. In this project, the aim is to develop a novel peptide-based, nasally-administered, polyvalent coronavirus nanovaccine to provide effective long-term immunity against SARS-CoV-2, which could be readily adapted to other emerging coronaviruses in the future. Importantly, the approach used in NanoVac is distinct from the other SARS-CoV-2 vaccines that have already received emergency regulatory approval in some countries (BioNTech/Pfizer; Sinopharm; Moderna and Oxford/AstraZeneca). The need for an easily adaptable vaccine-platform has been emphasised by the emergence of three new variants of coronavirus identified in the United Kingdom, South Africa and most recently Brazil, for which currently approved vaccines appear less efficient.
NanoVac will comprise of the most immunogenic epitopes of SARS-CoV to elicit mutually robust B-cell and T-cell responses, which will be crucial to acquire effective long-term protection against SARS-CoV-2/SARS-CoV-1/MERS-CoV. The smart poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA)-based encapsulation technology of NanoVac will ensure optimal antigen presentation via three mechanisms: firstly, guided delivery to immune cells, through use of molecules that target surface receptors on these cells; secondly, adjuvants to enhance the activation and maturation of the targeted immune cells; and finally, a slow-release formula to prolong exposure and enable potent protection of the payload, while minimising the risk of acute hyper immunity. The revolutionary nasal delivery route ensures heightened safety and predicted superb efficacy, by directly targeting nasal-associated lymphoid tissue (NALT) and the tonsils. Additionally, it offers an easy accessible, non-invasive administration route.
The goal of this project is to establish preclinical proof-of-concept (PoC) of NanoVac via in vitro and in vivo studies, which, upon successful completion of this project, will form the basis for clinical translation of NanoVac.