Italy develops world’s first coronavirus vaccine
Italian researchers claim to have developed a vaccine that can neutralise the coronavirus in human cells.
Tests carried out at Rome’s Lazzaro Spallanzani Hospital, which specialises in infectious diseases, generated antibodies in mice that work in human cells.
"This is the most advanced stage of testing of a candidate vaccine created in Italy," said Luigi Aurisicchio, chief executive of Takis, the company working on the treatment.
"According to Spallanzani Hospital, as far as we know we are the first in the world so far to have demonstrated a neutralisation of the coronavirus by a vaccine," he told the Italian news agency Ansa.
"We expect this to happen in humans too. Human tests are expected after this summer," The Independent cited Aurisicchio as saying.
After a single vaccination, the mice developed antibodies capable of blocking the virus from infecting human cells, Mr Aurisicchio claimed.
He said researchers observed that five candidate vaccines generated a large number of antibodies and they then selected the two with the best results.
The candidate vaccines were based on the genetic material of the “spike” DNA protein that the coronavirus uses to enter human cells.
The next tests to be conducted will aim to determine how long the immune response lasts.