The clinical phase I/II study for the ABNCoV2 vaccine has been launched this week. The vaccine has been developed by the European research consortium Prevent-nCoV. Up to 42 volunteers will be vaccinated at the Dutch university medical center Radboudumc to assess the safety and tolerability of two doses of the candidate vaccine. The vaccine has been developed by the Danish company Expres2ion Biotechnologies in cooperation with Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and the other consortium partners.
The consortium is funded by an EU Horizon 2020 grant to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. The clinical study has been approved by the Central Committee on Research Involving Human Subjects (CCMO) in the Netherlands.
The ABNCoV2 vaccine consists of a small component of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that can cause COVID-19 disease. The vaccine is made in insect cells and is linked to a nanoparticle. Tests on mice have demonstrated an effective immune response associated with high levels of antibodies in the blood of vaccinated animals that are able to neutralise the coronavirus.
Wageningen 'back up' vaccine
In the past year, the Prevent-nCoV consortium has also worked on a second vaccine, with a larger SARS-CoV-2 protein fragment made in insect-cell bioreactors. These protein fragments have been developed by researchers from the Laboratories of Virology, Bioprocess Engineering and Biochemistry at WUR. This ‘back up vaccine’ is currently being tested in mouse trials.