Candidate: AAVCOVID

Category: VAX

Type: Vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The vaccine uses an adeno-associated virus vector (AAV) to deliver genetic DNA fragments of SARS-CoV-2 that generate an antigen protein, which is designed to elicit an immune response in order to prevent infection.

Status: Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) said May 28 they had entered into a manufacturing agreement with AveXis, a Novartis Company, to begin producing AAVCOVID using its AAV technology while the vaccine candidate underwent further preclinical safety and efficacy testing at Mass. Eye and Ear and other academic medical institutions. AveXis also agreed to supply the AAV vaccine at no cost for COVID-19 clinical trials set to start in the second half of 2020, and intended to establish safety and efficacy of the experimental vaccine.

AveXis has the option to manufacture the AAV vaccine for additional clinical development, registration and/or commercial activities. Should a new strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus emerges, the genetic code inside AAVCOVID can be exchanged for an updated genetic code and processed into an updated vaccine in weeks, according to Mass. Eye and Ear and MGH.

Mason Freeman, MD, director and founder of the MGH Translational Research Center and a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, is leading efforts to develop the clinical studies. The AAVCOVID vaccine program was developed in the lab of Luk H. Vandenberghe, PhD, director of the Grousbeck Gene Therapy Center at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and associate professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School.

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:


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