SSI develops ‘promising’ COVID-19 vaccine

SSI aims to hold trials first on monkeys and then on humans starting in autumn 2020

The Statens Serum Institut (SSI) on Monday presented a new candidate for a COVID-19 vaccine as scientists worldwide work to develop protection against the coronavirus.

The candidate — known as CoVAXIX — has been successful on mice. After running several trials, the SSI deemed the project “promising”.

Besides SSI, researchers at the University of Copenhagen and the biotech and pharmaceutical company Union are also working to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus. This is alongside efforts of other scientists in countries such as the US, UK and China.

Slowing down the virus
Trials reveal that the SSI vaccine helps to develop antibodies that neutralise the SARS-CoV-2 virus with the same or greater potency than those in most patients who become immune after surviving COVID-19.

Chief virologist, professor and chief physician, Anders Fomsgaard, said that the vaccine strengthens cell immunity, which safeguards against the virus by eliminating infected cells.

“Cell immunity is crucial for the body’s ability to slow down virus production and virus excretion, so you limit both COVID-19 disease and prevent you from infecting others,” Fomsgaard said.

Next steps
SSI’s research team intends to test the vaccine candidate in humans, which seems challenging in terms of safety. This is why it is expected that the process will take time.

For the time being, scientists aim to test it on monkeys.

Phase 1 of human trials is expected to start in autumn 2020 or early 2021.