Candidate: Vaccine against COVID-19

Category: VAX

Type: Vaccine candidate based on the established flu-based DelNS1 live attenuated influenza virus (LAIV) platform, with the deletion of the key virulent element and immune antagonist, NS1, from the viral genome, adapted to express the surface protein of SARS-CoV-2. The vaccine uses flu vector to express a specific antigen to induce immunity targeting the critical element of the Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) of SARS-CoVs.

Status: On March 16, HKU’s State Key Laboratory for Emerging Infectious Diseases said it received an initial $620,000 from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) toward vaccine development. HKU researchers previously completed a proof-of-concept study testing their flu-based RBD vaccine system using a MERS-CoV animal infection model, and reported that vaccination with DelNS1-MERS-RBD LAIV provided full protection from pathogenic MERS-CoV. The team is currently conducting similar proof-of-concept studies in multiple animal models.

According to HKU, the vaccine candidate is one of five vaccine technologies by China’s Ministry of Science and Technology for further evaluation. HKU is partnering with Xiamen University to test the production of DelNS1-SARS-CoV2-RBD LAIV from eggs. The University is also collaborating with industrial partners in China—including Changchun-Baike, Hualan-Bio, Beijing Wantai, Sinovac, and CNBG China—to evaluate production of the vaccine candidate from MDCK cells.


COVID-19: 200 Candidates and Counting

To navigate through the >200 potential therapeutic and vaccine options for COVID-19, GEN has grouped the candidates into four broad categories based on their developmental and (where applicable) clinical progress:

FRONT RUNNER – the most promising therapeutics/vaccines based on clinical progress, favorable data or both.

DEFINITELY MAYBE – earlier phases with promising partners, or more advanced candidates in development that have generated uneven data

KEEPING AN EYE ON… – interesting technology, attracting notable partners, or both, but preliminary data.

TOO SOON TO TELL – longshots pending additional experimental and/or clinical data.

GEN has also tagged the most common treatment types:

● ANTIVIRAL
● VAX
● ANTIBODY
● RNA

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