The Times of Japan reported that scientists at the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Health Sciences are working on a COVID-19 vaccine that not only offers lifelong immunity against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but also can be safely transported at room temperature to the most remote parts of the world.

Covid-19 is evolving more complicated than ever, with infections from the Omicron variant increasing around the world, putting countries facing a difficult choice to adopt more stringent measures in their operations. people's movements, or let this variant spread more widely.

Vaccination is proving to be especially important in reducing the severity of the disease, limiting the number of deaths, but is still ineffective in stopping the spread of a dangerous infectious disease such as like this.

Vaccine development and manufacturing companies are also offering booster doses for each variant and will soon become the norm during a pandemic that is entering its third year. That suggests that a single vaccine with the potential to be effective. What is expected of lifelong immunity?

A team of researchers from Japan, led by Michinori Kohara, used what is believed to be the most successful vaccine used in history against smallpox. The team used a vaccine virus strain that does not cause disease, but has replaced some of its protein components with some components from the SARS-CoV-2 mutant protein.

The team still uses recombination of the mutant protein with a different delivery mechanism, which is considered the most popular strategy in creating vaccines. Kohara is confident that his vaccine not only provides potent neutralizing antibodies in a single dose, but also provides strong cellular immunity for long-term protection.

Experiments conducted on mice showed that vaccinated mice maintained high levels of antibodies for more than 20 months or their median survival time. The research report also showed that when two doses of the vaccine were given 3 weeks apart, the neutralizing antibodies increased tenfold.

Similar tests were performed on monkeys, and the results showed that the vaccine protected them from viral infections. Vaccinated monkeys showed inflammation below the limit of detection, about 7 days after infection. Kohara says the vaccine offers another added advantage of being less effective than other approved vaccines.

The non-pathogenic virus strains used in vaccine design are unlikely to replicate in mammals and will produce fewer side effects. The researchers also tested the vaccine for previously reported variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and found it to be effective, and they hope it will also work with the Omicron variant.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Health Sciences, which has no experience in commercializing vaccines, has signed a contract with local drug maker Nobelpharma Co to conduct clinical trials. Phase 1 and phase 2 of human clinical trials are scheduled to begin in 2023, followed by larger-scale trials. If favorable, the vaccine will be on the market from 2024 at the earliest.
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