DNA-based vaccine to prevent COVID-19


There are currently no vaccines available for the prevention of infections caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. In this project, a DNA-based vaccine will be designed using technology previously developed at the National Centre for Microbiology of the Instituto de Salud Carlos III.

Prophylactic vaccination can provide protection from infection on a population scale, thus removing the need to implement social distancing measures in protected populations. The societal impact of an effective vaccine for COVID-19 would therefore be very high on both health and economic levels.


The PLASMIVAX vaccine platform was developed at the National Centre for Microbiology. It is based on plasmid DNA optimized for the induction of cell-mediated immunity and a high titer antibody response for the production of highly effective vaccines against infectious diseases.

The platform uses DNA that incorporates immunostimulatory elements that can be tailored to the infectious agent that is being targeted. For the development of SARSVAX, genome sequences of SARS-CoV-2 were analyzed in order to identify ideal antigens for the vaccine development.

Next Steps

Thanks to the support of CaixaImpulse, we will be able to complete specific preclinical milestones (animal model testing, patent filing, manufacturing process development and toxicity studies) that are essential for advancement of SARSVAX to clinical phases of testing.

This funding will therefore significantly advance the development of the asset by achieving multiple milestones, thus positioning SARSVAX for regulatory filing of an investigational new drug application, GMP-manufacturing activities and clinical trials after completion of the grant period.


Principal Investigator, Intrahospital Infections Unit

Michael McConnell

Project leader

Scientist, Intrahospital Infections Unit

Andrés Corral Lugo

Scientist, Intrahospital Infections Unit

Mireia López Siles

Scientist, Intrahospital Infections Unit

Antonio Javier Martín Galiano

Principal Investigator, Viral Infections and Immunity in Immunocompromized Patients

Pilar Pérez Romero

Scientist, Viral Infections and Immunity in Immunocompromized Patients

Estéfanía García Ríos


Scientific Area

Clinical sciences

Business area


Research center

Instituto de Salud Carlos III: National Centre for Microbiology