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What Do the Second Generation of COVID Vaccines Look Like?

  • Category: Coronavirus
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Baton Rouge General
What Do the Second Generation of COVID Vaccines Look Like?

As impressive as it was to develop the new COVID-19 vaccines so quickly and efficiently, the work didn’t stop there. With nearly 240 other vaccine candidates in development, we can see options that are not only just as effective as the in-market vaccines, but cheaper and easier to distribute (no -70 degrees freezers needed!).

Here are two types of vaccines that show the most potential:

Nanoparticle Technology

Status: Phase 1 trials

The currently approved COVID-19 vaccines work by using mRNA to instruct the cells to make an essential portion of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. With this vaccine candidate from the University of Washington, researchers have focused on delivering the actual spike protein from SARS-CoV-2, as opposed to a whole virus or genetic material.

But instead of injecting the entire spike protein, they’ve honed in on the receptor binding domain (RBD), which is the portion of the spike protein that directly fuses with human cells and infects them. The vaccine is delivered by soccer-ball shaped “nanoparticles” that have RBD proteins attached to them. This design makes the vaccine capable of eliciting antibody responses at least 10 times higher than those that use the whole, natural spike protein. R

Researchers have started work on a similar vaccine type of vaccine at the California Institute of Technology. Experts say what makes the new vaccine technology so powerful is that it raises the possibility of training the immune system to recognize not just one strain of coronavirus—but up to eight—with a single shot.

Self-amplifying RNA

Status: Phase 1 trials

This self-amplifying RNA vaccine is similar to existing mRNA vaccines in that it inserts genetic material from the virus directly into human cells, instructing the body to create the spike protein. But, like the name implies, this vaccine causes the body’s own cells to continue to create the spike proteins on their own. The result? Immunity can be achieved with a very low dose, with no booster shot necessary. Researchers also believe this type of vaccine be made in huge volumes for little cost.

These new vaccine candidates will be instrumental as variant strains of COVID continue developing across the country. Learn more about the current COVID-19 vaccines.