Candidate: PittCoVacc, short for “Pittsburgh Coronavirus Vaccine”
Type: Microneedle array (MNA)-delivered recombinant protein subunit vaccine targeting SARS-CoV-2.
Status: Pitt researchers on April 1 published a study in the open access journal EBioMedicine detailing their development of PittCoVacc. Louis Falo, MD, PhD, and Andrea Gambotto, MD, were co-senior authors of the study, which reported that PittCoVac generated a surge of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 within two weeks of MNA delivery when tested in mice.
The MNA is a fingertip-sized patch of 400 small needles made of sugar and protein pieces, designed to deliver the spike protein pieces into the skin, where the needles dissolve. The microneedle array can sit at room temperature until it is needed.
“MNA delivery of coronaviruses-S1 subunit vaccines is a promising immunization strategy against MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 infection and can be adapted for other subunit vaccines against a broad range of infectious diseases,” the researchers concluded.
Pitt said its researchers are applying for an IND approval from the FDA, and aim to start a Phase I human clinical trial in the next few months.
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: