Biotechnology companies and
Research institutes at itto find a vaccine that the spread of the new
Coronavirus Sars-CoV-2 could contain. Martin Bachmann is one of them. The
Schweizer heads the immunology department at Inselspital in Bern. Together
together with researchers from Anhui University in Hefei, China, he is currently looking for vaccine candidates against the lung disease Covid-19 in a partner project. First
Tests on mice were promising. Still, it could take longer
it will take until a vaccine becomes available nationwide, he says in
TIME ONLINE: Mr. Bachmann, please explain briefly,
how a virus vaccine basically works.
Martin Bachmann: Virtually all vaccines work,
by causing the immune system to generate antibodies. The
neutralize the virus by preventing it from multiplying
that is, can no longer infect new cells. The vaccine itself contains in
usually weakened parts of the pathogen that cause this so-called immune response
TIME ONLINE: What information do you need in order to
To be able to develop vaccine?
Bachmann: Every virus has to dock to a cell in order to
to infect them. So you have to know the molecular structure of the virus
and to which receptors in the body it docks. Only then can they
Develop antibodies that prevent this docking. So-called spike proteins are particularly important for corona viruses. she
make up the outer shell of the virus. You can look at it like a hand
with which the virus adheres to the cells.
TIME ONLINE: What have you and your colleagues found out about the new corona virus?
Bachmann: Sars-CoV-2 is closely related to the well-known
Coronaviruses related to Sars and Mers. The spike protein is therefore similar. in the
In the case of Sars, we also know that the receptor for the virus is the enzyme
ACE2 is the one that primarily regulates blood pressure in the body. Based on this
We managed to induce antibodies in mice that
Prevent docking to ACE2 and thus neutralize the virus. We have a
Vaccine found that can also be produced in large quantities.
TIME ONLINE: You sound confident.
Bachmann: Sars-CoV-2 is relatively well defined, different
than about HIV,
which is hypervariable. It is a simple virus. That makes it easier for one
to find working vaccine. I am convinced that the
Vaccine that we have now found also work in humans
TIME ONLINE: Your research relates to
Previous knowledge of Sars: However, there is still no vaccine against it. How so
should it be different with Sars-CoV-2?
Bachmann: There is no vaccine because Sars
has disappeared [Since2004therehavebeen[Seit2004gabesno new cases in public, Annotation], So at some point there was no need
to develop a vaccine. The disease suddenly came with a big one
Wave and then left quickly. One could of course hope that at
Sars-CoV-2 runs the same way. But that’s unlikely because people
that have no symptoms that can infect others. And if you have that
Not detecting infected people, it is more difficult to stop the virus. Therefore
It’s important to have a vaccine to get people to get bigger
TIME ONLINE: Couldn’t the virus, like the flu
mutate and therefore always require new vaccines?
Bachmann: RNA viruses, which include both the flu
Sars-CoV-2 also count, are unstable and easily mutate. Still it is
Influenza vaccine is the only vaccine to be adjusted every year. Of
For example, we know that there are thousands of different strains, i.e. variants,
there, but they are all susceptible to the same antibodies. mutations
you can never rule it out, but that’s why they wouldn’t become vaccine