The goal is to produce antibodies that target a region of the barbed protein called “class 4 cyclic region”, which is not genetically different between strains of coronavirus and therefore has less ability to mutate in the future. By identifying these antibodies, the researchers were able to develop a vaccination strategy that would remain effective for future virus strains, the Garvan CEO wrote. Christopher Goodnow.
“Current vaccines are doing a great job of keeping people out of hospitals and slowing the spread of the virus. However, the antibodies that are produced with current vaccines are directed at a part of the virus that can easily mutate and reduce the efficiency of the antibodies directed against that part of the virus, It can block it. We’ve looked at other parts of the spike that are equally vital for the virus to get infected. And we’ve examined thousands and thousands of antibodies, many in great detail, to focus on which antibodies work on. The constant part the virus needs to get infected, but that doesn’t change. In the next phase of the project, formulations of next-generation vaccines will be tested in pre-clinical models to determine if they can produce antibodies to protect against different strains of the virus.”