A consortium led by the Danish company Expres2ion Biotechnologies will receive funding from the European Commission to develop a candidate COVID-19 vaccine. The aim is to test the vaccine on humans within a year. The Laboratory of Virology in Wageningen will produce particular proteins that are to be used in the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Wageningen virologists have many years of experience in producing complex proteins. This is done with the help of the same technology used for the cervical cancer vaccine, which is included in the national immunisation programme.
It is not the first time the European Commission made funding available for scientific research on treatment, diagnostics and immunisation for the new coronavirus. However, this time, the funding has a clearly defined purpose.
The Wageningen approach is to produce the coronavirus proteins in insect cells, which allows large quantities to be manufactured rapidly and safely.
The consortium will develop several different prototype vaccines, the best of which will eventually be developed further. This selection will most likely be made in the fall.