On May 21, US immunotherapy company Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc said that its experimental vaccine to combat the COVID-19 disease produced protective antibodies and immune system responses in mice and guinea pigs. Director of the vaccine and immunotherapy center at the Wistar Institute said in a statement that the antibody responses gave exact results the researchers want to see in a coronavirus vaccine.
Inovio, that started human trials in April, said that the vaccine’s preliminary results from that trial are expected in June. It added, researchers were able to target bodies that prevent the coronavirus from having a safe harbour in the patient’s body. In the Phase 1 trial, two shots of the INO-4800 vaccine were injected in at least 40 healthy participants, four weeks apart, the pharmaceutical company explained, according to a press release.
Head of research and development at Inovio, Dr. Katherine Broderick, was quoted saying that the company reviewed safety data which has been benign, so far. Some patients reported slight redness of the arm due to the injection, but that’s normal, she said. Once the preliminary data are in, Inovio expects to approach the US Food and Drug Administration for authorization to move into a Phase 2/3 trial, which could happen in July or August, she added.
Today we announced an INOVIO study published in peer-reviewed journal @NatureComms about the robust preclinical immune response, including both neutralizing antibodies and T cell responses, of INOVIO’s COVID-19 DNA vaccine: https://t.co/nrysBJAO70 #DNAMedicines #DNAVaccines pic.twitter.com/MJsJSEMOXL— INOVIO Pharmaceuticals (@InovioPharma) May 20, 2020
Earlier, Inovio claimed that it detected the antibodies in the lungs of the vaccinated animals that demonstrated virus-neutralizing activity in three separate testing procedures, the published data report stated. Further, the latest animal study results published in the journal Nature Communications approved Inovio’s vaccine authenticity as per the DNA medicines platform and previous positive clinical trial data for the experimental vaccine against coronavirus that caused Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
These positive preclinical results from our COVID-19 DNA vaccine (INO-4800) not only highlight the potency of our DNA medicines platform but also build on our previously reported positive Phase 1/2a data from our vaccine against the coronavirus that causes MERS, which demonstrated near-100% seroconversion and neutralization from a similarly designed vaccine INO-4700.
The potent neutralizing antibody and T cell immune responses generated in multiple animal models are supportive of our currently on-going INO-4800 clinical trials, INOVIO's Senior Vice President of R&D and the Team Lead for COVID-19 vaccine development, Dr. Kate Broderick said.
INO-4800 targets the major surface antigen Spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19 disease, as per the report. Not just that, vaccine generates antibodies which totally block the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) spike binding to the host ACE2 receptor that causes infection in the lungs.