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Five vaccines are already battling to be the first national immunizing agent against COVID-19 – Health

Rio – under development in Putantan Institute It is already being tested on humans, and Bhutanvac I began to lead the race among some of the largest research institutions in Brazil in search of a national immunizing agent against COVID-19. There are more than a dozen projects underway across the country, but five of them are more advanced. In addition to Butanvac, UFRJ, UFMG and USP products in Ribeirão Preto await permission from infinity To start clinical trials, the UFPR candidate will follow.

The expectation is that next year Brazil will have at least one vaccine developed and produced on national soil. Production in the country is important because it reduces costs and gives autonomy, in addition to favoring the development of Brazilian technology.

a Bhutanvac It is the only national vaccine candidate that is already undergoing clinical trials – in humans. If all goes well, its developers believe, permission for emergency use will be requested in November. Using technology originally developed in the United States, the immunizing agent uses the inactivated virus of Newcastle disease (which affects birds) to transfer the spike protein of the novel coronavirus into the body.

“In this phase A of the clinical study, we are testing the safety and definition of doses,” said the Director of the Putantan Institute. Dimas Caves. It should close by the end of this month. In the second step, we will compare the immune performance relative to other vaccines and Coronavac itself. This should happen by October. Next, we will begin the process of submitting documentation to Anvisa for permission to use. ”

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The virus will develop in the fetal eggs. It is the same technology used to produce the influenza vaccine, which butantane already has a synthetic structure for its production. The product has not yet been approved, but the institute has already produced 10 million doses. They will be used once final permission is granted. The expectation is that by the beginning of next year a vaccine will be available. “Because it’s made on the same platform as the flu vaccine, this vaccine can be produced in many factories around the world,” Covas says.

Coppe/UFRJ is also developing an immunizing agent against covid-19, and UFRJvac. The vaccine is based on the recombinant protein technology used, for example, in vaccines against hepatitis B and against human papillomavirus. Therefore, they believe that it will hardly have any unexpected side effects. In the case of Covid-19, scientists in the lab created a version of the spiky protein of Sars-CoV2, found in the protrusions that cover the virus. Upon receiving the immune factor, the body “learns” to recognize the protein, preparing itself to eventually fight the infection.

The technology used in the UFRJ vaccine also allows modifications to be made (relatively easily) in the transcriptome of the spiky protein used to formulate the immunizing agent, according to mutations introduced by Sars-CoV2 variants. “In March, we started working on the variables,” said Leda Castilho, of Coppe/UFRJ, study coordinator. “We already have Delta, Gamma, Beta, and three or four others.”

The product is under development by UFMG and Fiocruz-MG, and SpiN-TEC, also based on recombinant protein technology. The researchers used a common genetically modified bacterium. It has received parts of the Sars-CoV2 genome so that it can produce proteins from the new coronavirus. When injected into the human body, the illusion stimulates an immune response. By using two proteins from the virus, the vaccine will be able to avoid more variants. Study coordinator, Riccardo Gazzinelli, of UFMG and Fiocruz, explained that “since many parts of the molecule are recognized, if there is a mutation here or there, this does not alter the response of the vaccine,” noting that an IFA immunizing agent is in production.

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and the vaccine being developed by USP in Ribeirão Preto with Farmacore, and Versamune, also uses a recombinant SarS-CoV2 protein. However, in this case, it is packaged in a nanoparticle that stimulates the T cells of the immune system. According to Farmacore, vaccines using the same technology generate immunity for up to 12 years. It is not yet known whether the same effect will be achieved for the Coronavirus.

The vaccine from the Federal University of Paraná is still without a specific name, and also uses recombinant viral proteins. They are carried by biodegradable biopolymers. It is a new technology also developed in UPPR. Biopolymers absorb proteins from Sars-CoV2. They imitate the virus, carrying it in the body.

“Vaccines mainly consist of two components: the antigen and the carrier or adjuvant,” explained UFPR study coordinator Emmanuel Maltempe de Souza. “The part of the vaccine that comes from the pathogen that our cells recognize builds the defense. But the vector is also essential; it’s what stimulates the T cells to develop a response. The antigen is relatively easy to make, but the adjuvant is another story. Few companies produce. Developing materials is Aid is essential, not only for the production, but also for owning the intellectual property of this assistive material. For our complete independence we have to be a part of the product scene.”


Despite being a major producer of vaccines, Brazil has never developed an immunizing agent. “One of the things that this pandemic has highlighted is our technological adoption, both in the field of diagnostics and medical equipment, but also on the issue of vaccines,” said Riccardo Gazzinelli, coordinator of the National Institute of Vaccine Science and Technology at MCTI. All BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) They are already developing their own vaccines, and Cuba already has two. We need to learn this way.”

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Emmanuel Maltempe de Souza agrees with his colleague. “A country of over 200 million people that does not have its own vaccine technology is at the mercy of bad weather, and it has no way of responding.”