CureVac COVID vaccine shows immune response in early trial

*Company’s early vaccine tests indicated experimental shot yielded antibodies, T cells

*German Government acquires 23% stake in the company for $350 million as CureVac got listed in US August 2020

Emmanuel Akosile | ConsumerConnect

A Coronavirus vaccine under development from CureVac NV showed a good immune response in early trials, thereby validating the biotech company’s 20 years of research into messenger RNA’s ability to train the body’s defenses.

ConsumerConnect reports the German company in a statement Monday, November 2, 2020, said the vaccine’s strongest dose produced an immune response comparable to that found in recovered patients in an early-stage test on more than 250 volunteers.

Franz-Werner Haas, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CureVac NV, disclosed that advanced clinical trials are on track to start by year-end.

CureVac shares rose as much as 5% in Frankfurt trading.

It was gathered CureVac was thrust into the spotlight earlier this year amid reports that the United States (US) Government had tried to buy it or persuade it to move its research work there.

The company was reported to have spent two decades investigating the potential of messenger RNA, in which a vaccine or drug teaches the body’s cells to identify and create its own substances to ward off disease.

Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, CureVac had studied mRNA therapies and vaccines for diseases such as cancer and rabies. If the Covid-19 shot is successful, it will be the company’s first product, according to report.

Two other frontrunner vaccine developers are also betting on mRNA ─ Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech SE, and the US biotech Moderna Inc.

Given that no such vaccine has ever been approved, Haas said a win for rivals can only be good for CureVac too.

Haas, in a telephone interview, stated that this technology is “not only for the Covid-19. “In five years it’s for the Covid-25, or whatever it is.”

The approach, he said, could “revolutionise the entire prophylactic vaccine field.”

The company held lengthy discussions in January 2020 to decide whether to repurpose its research, using some of it to develop a coronavirus jab.

“It was certainly a big stretch for a company like ours. We decided “not to do it would not be an option,” said Haas.

The phase 1 trial data showed a strong induction of binding and neutralising antibodies as well as the first signs that T cells ─ a type of white blood cell that helps destroy infection ─ had been activated, CureVac said.

The full test results will be published in more detail after peer review in the coming weeks.

The trial included as many as 10 people who had previously tested positive for COVID-19.

CureVac has started some middle-stage trials in Peru and Panama in September with adults over 60.

The CEO also restated the company’s denial that the US tried to buy the company.

He clarified that “there was no formal or informal or oral or written offer. At least not that I know.”

In June, the German Government agreed to acquire a 23% stake in the company for 300 million Euros ($350 million) and CureVac listed in the US in August 2020.

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