New Vaccine Successfully Protects Macaques against COVID-19

A new study, completed by researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston, US, finds that a COVID-19 vaccine candidate, created in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson corporation, is effective in protecting rhesus macaque monkeys from the novel disease.New Vaccine Successfully Protects Macaques against COVID-19

For the study, the scientists tested the developed vaccine on 52 rhesus macaque monkeys to ascertain its potential. They gave a single shot of one of 7 variations of the vaccine to 32 monkeys, while 20 monkeys received placebo.

After that, all monkeys were exposed to SARS-CoV-2. All monkeys from the control group receiving placebo became infected with the virus (significant amounts of the virus in lungs and nasal passages) while of the 6 monkeys that received the optimal vaccine variation none had the virus in the lungs, and one had the virus in its nasal passages.

Dr. Dan Barouch, Director of BIDMC’s Center for Virology and Vaccine Research and a co-author of the current study, says: “A single-shot immunization has practical and logistical advantages over a two-shot regimen for global deployment and pandemic control, but a two-shot vaccine will likely be more immunogenic, and thus both regimens are being evaluated in clinical trials. We look forward to the results of the clinical trials that will determine the safety and immunogenicity and, ultimately, the efficacy of the Ad26.COV2.S vaccine in humans.”

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