Spanish vaccines against coronavirus they advance according to the anticipated rhythm. The most advanced is that of the team of Mariano Esteban and Juan García Arriaza (CSIC) which is awaiting approval from the Spanish Medicines Agency to begin trials on volunteers in Spanish hospitals. An authorization they trust doesn’t take much longer. The forecast is that by the end of July the prototype may already be tested in humans, as the president of the CSIC announced this week, Rosa Menendez. This vaccine has already shown 100% efficacy in tests carried out in mice.
From there, and if the trials are successful, the next phase will proceed. They are contemplated until four within this process:
- Fase I: the drug is initially proven to be safe.
- Phase II: if the drug works as expected and a search is made for the most suitable dose and the interval between doses.
- Phase III: the safety and efficacy aspects of the drug are robustly verified.
- Phase IV o Follow-up studies: the long-term effects are examined after the drug has been marketed.
The Spanish biotechnology company Biofabri, part of the Zendal group, is manufacturing the vaccine prototype and collaborating with the CSIC to carry out these tests.
Spain is negotiating with the World Health Organization the possibility that some of these vaccines that the CSIC being developed are used, when they have passed all the trials and demonstrated their efficacy, to extend the immunization of the population in Latin America or Africa.
How is the most advanced Spanish vaccine?
Vaccines against the coronavirus Pfizer Y Modern they have been the definitive accolade to messenger RNA technology. So much so that now they are investigating how to develop for the flu or malaria. Those investigated by the CSIC use other methods.
Mariano Esteban’s team tries to generate viral vectors based on a modification of the virus used in the eradication of smallpox. The advantage is that by not using the virus SARS-CoV-2 complete, they can work in conditions of lower level of biological safety. The consequence is that it requires less experimental complexity when developing the vaccine.
The forecast is that it can be ready by the end of the year.
The virologist Luis Enjuanes, which develops another of the Spanish vaccines, has recognized that Esteban’s is the one that is the most advanced, “because they had previously made seven other vaccines using other variants of the vector” and the one that has the best chance of success.
Genetic engineering for the Enjuanes COVID vaccine
Luis Enjuanes and Isabel Sola’s vaccine project develops a synthetic virion whose virulence genes have been removed by genetic engineering.
It is an almost complete synthetic copy of SARS-CoV-2. It has characteristics of the virus, but it is not transmissible from cell to cell. So it goes into cells, but it doesn’t come out of them. This synthetic virion has the same proteins as the real virus, so it generates a response immune powerful.
It is still in the testing phase in mice and the forecast they manage is that it will enter clinical phases at the end of this year so that it will be ready in the first quarter of next year, in 2022.
The two main characteristics of this vaccine are:
- Generates sterilizing immunity. In other words, vaccinated people not only do not get sick, but also do not become infected or transmit the virus.
- Administration by intranasal spray is considered. This option gives greater protection to the respiratory tract, the main entry point for the coronavirus.
Vicente Larraga’s vaccine against COVID
There is a third vaccine project underway, that of Vicente Larraga. It consists of placing a gene for a SARS-CoV-2 antigen in a synthetic vehicle of ADN (a plasmid) that can be introduced into the patient’s body and induce protection against infection.
Larraga warns that this virus has not yet finished, “far from it” and that although the first approved vaccines have helped “to solve a very important problem”, it is still necessary to develop more vaccines better than the current ones.
“Our work continues to have an important meaning”, emphasizes the researcher.
One of the questions raised by the vaccine is to check how long the protection against the virus lasts. It will be necessary to see if a third dose will be necessary or, as in the case of gripe, an annual vaccination if, finally, SARS Cov-2 is here to stay.