Yet another COVID-19 shot, known as a protein subunit vaccine, could hit the market as early as this summer, NPR reports.
What’s different? Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines and the J&J vaccine, which deliver genetic instructions to train the body to recognize SARS-CoV-2’s signature spike protein, these vaccines contain the spike itself. (Check out Gavi’s helpful explainer of how it works.)
- Uses known technology (hepatitis B and pertussis vaccines based on this technology are already on the market)
- Contains an adjuvant that enhances the immune system’s response
- No refrigeration required
Several companies have versions in the works, but Novovax is first in line. It expects to wrap up an efficacy trial involving tens of thousands of volunteers in the US and Mexico soon.
Aussies’ Needle-Free Vaccine
Australian researchers are working on a patch to deliver SARS-CoV-2 spike subunit vaccine directly to the skin, News-Medical Net reports.
A single dose of the patch-delivered spike provided complete protection from a lethal virus challenge in a preliminary study on mice, published on the preprint bioRxiv server last week.
The easy-to-apply patch would offer even more benefits on top of reduced cold chain dependence—including the possibility of self-administration without any training.