Canberra, Australia | Xinhua | Australia’s national science agency has found that a “warm” COVID-19 vaccine suitable for remote locations is effective against all key variants of the virus.
In a study published on Thursday, researchers from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) evaluated the efficacy of heat-tolerant coronavirus vaccine formulations developed by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and biotechnology company Mynvax.
They found that the formulations triggered a strong immune response against all SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern in mice and hamsters.
“Our data shows that all formulations of Mynvax tested result in antibodies capable of consistent and effective neutralization of the Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern,” S. S. Vasan, the CSIRO’s COVID-19 project leader and co-author of the report, said in a media release.
Crucially, the vaccine formulations remained stable at 37 degrees centigrade for a month and at 100 degrees for 90 minutes.
By comparison, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine must be held in specialized cold storage at -70 degrees and the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine must be kept between two and eight degrees, making them unsuitable for remote and resource-limited areas.
The data collected by the CSIRO will be used to select which Mynvax formulations progress to human clinical trials in India later in 2021.
Rob Grenfell, the CSIRO’s Health and Biosecurity director, said the study proved the need for ongoing global scientific collaboration to develop further COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.
“A thermostable or ‘warm vaccine’ is critical for remote or resource-limited locations with extremely hot climates which lack reliable cold storage supply chains,” he said.