Our objective is to design and preclinically evaluate two novel polyvalent multiepitopic immunogens as a long-term SARS-CoV-2 vaccine strategy.
Our proposed asset will contain protective B and T cell epitopes from conserved regions in SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S), Envelope (E), Membrane (M) and nucleocapsid (N) structural proteins when expressed by DNA and MVA vectors. Two DNA components and one poxviral vector co-expressing both antigens (MVA-CoV2B/TMEP) will be generated and delivered.
Our final aim is to establish an effective vaccination strategy that elicits potent and long lasting B and T cell responses that will not only be cross protective across Betacoronaviruses but also elicit resistance to ongoing virus evolution.
We have previously designed T and/or B epitope-based vaccines—including those that target conserved regions associated with viral control—to overcome viral diversity and elicit potent and broad immune responses against the HIV-1 virus in animal models.
Additionally, our group has generated different candidates based on MVA against emerging viruses such as ebola, chikungunya and zika, demonstrating a high degree of efficacy (80-100%) in animal models as well as against the HIV-1 virus. In phase 1 clinical trials our candidates have proven safe and immunogenic in healthy and seropositive individuals.
Thanks to the support of CaixaImpulse, we will start to explore new vaccine designs that direct the immune response towards conserved and protective epitopes on the SARS-CoV-2 structural proteins using DNA and MVA as delivery platforms.
We will assess the capacity of these vaccine candidates to induce potent and long lasting B and T cell immune responses that protect animals against SARS-CoV-2 virus infection and also able to confer resistance to ongoing virus evolution. If successful, the candidates could be further explored in clinical trials as prophylactic COVID-19 vaccine.