Covid-19 | MUST scientists report breakthrough in vaccine testing

A research team involving scientists from the Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST) has announced a breakthrough in their mission to develop a vaccine for Covid-19.
Led by Professor Zhang Kang from MUST’s Faculty of Medicine, the team consists of scientists from both mainland China and Hong Kong.
This study has evaluated the potential of a candidate vaccine based on the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2.
The paper points out that the vaccine had afforded vaccinated animals, including monkeys, potent and complete protection from the virus. There is no evidence of antibody-dependent enhancement or acceleration of pneumonia in mice or monkeys that received the vaccine, and none developed any evidence of pneumonia.
As the main corresponding author of this paper, Professor Zhang said that “our initial thinking when designing our vaccine in January 2020 was to use the smallest part of the S protein so it produces the best vaccination effect but has the least potential side effects, such as an antibody-dependent enhancement complication.”
“Therefore, we painstakingly made several vaccine candidates and tested each of them and concluded that RBD is the best candidate,” said Zhang. “In hindsight, that seems obvious now, but back in January 2020, when everyone else was racing ahead with vaccine production, it was a hard decision. We are now glad we did not rush and made the right decision before moving forward.”
According to the research team, there are more than one hundred Covid-19 vaccines under development in the world, but they are facing arduous challenges in terms of efficacy, side effects and production.
The MUST-led team believes that the research will provide a viable solution in the world’s fight against Covid-19.
However, the efficacy of the vaccine needs to be evaluated and validated in human clinical trials, which will begin shortly. JZ

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