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Italian vaccine for coronavirus, the first tests: “Antibodies block viruses”

The antibodies generated in mice by the company’s Italian vaccine work Takis: the tests performed in the institute’s virology laboratory indicate this Spallanzani. To communicate it the CEO Luigi Aurisicchio. It is the most advanced level reached so far in the experimentation of a vaccine candidate born in Italy, but human tests are still expected after the summer.

“By proceeding with these rhythms it will be possible to start the first human trials from July”, explained the health director, Francesco Vaia adding that “if the first tests are successful, in 2021 they will lead to the administration of the vaccine on a large number of people at risk and, I hope, to demonstrate its effectiveness”.

For the experimentation, the institute for infectious diseases of the capital, a center of excellence for the fight against the new coronavirus, is setting up an area of ​​the hospital that will be specifically dedicated to the administration of the vaccine to healthy volunteers, in “compliance with all guarantees. safety”. In May, the selection of the first volunteers will begin, which should be just under 50, and with a final ‘sprint’ the start of the tests could be even a few days earlier, at the end of June.

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It is – they explain by the institute – a genetic vaccine based on a viral vector that has been developed by society ReiThera, a biotechnology company based in Castel Romano. The scientific coordination was entrusted to Spallanzani who will act in agreement with the cnr. “Unlike traditional vaccines, genetic vaccines do not use an inactive microorganism or part of it, but the gene that codes for the antigen of the microorganism that you want to neutralize,” explained Vaia. In this case, the gene that codes for the spike protein that allows the virus to enter the cells will be used. Once entered into the body’s cells, this gene induces the production of the protein which in turn stimulates the immune response against the coronavirus. “

For the testing of this vaccine, the Lazio Region took the field in agreement with the ministry of University and Research. In recent weeks, the Region has announced that it will allocate € 5 million to the institute to help research the Covid-19 vaccine.

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“A piece of news that gives hope”, the President of the Region stressed in a tweet Nicola Zingaretti recalling: “From the Lazio Region invested 5 million euros for this research that we will continue to support”.

While the Regional Councilor for Health, Alessio D’Amato, underlined: “We are the only Region to have invested in the experimentation for the vaccine. This is an absolutely fundamental element”. And precisely in the Spallanzani laboratories in Rome, the hospital where the Chinese spouses were treated and healed – the first two confirmed cases of coronavirus in Italy – the virus was isolated in early February.

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