A Vaccine Based on Adenovirus

Context: The Russia Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is piloting Russia’s Sputnik V candidate vaccine, currently in Phase 3 trials, has partnered with the Hyderabad-based Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories to test, and subject to regulatory approvals in India, supply 100 million doses of the vaccine. The Sputnik V vaccine, which is based on well-studied human adenoviral vector platform with proven safety, is undergoing clinical trials for the coronavirus pandemic.

Analysis

  • Governments around the world are making a big bet that the first vaccines for COVID-19 could be made with genetically engineered viruses.
  • The engineered viruses, called adenoviral vectors, are designed to shuttle a gene from SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, into our bodies where our cells will read it and make coronavirus spike proteins.
  • As with all vaccines, the idea is to trick our body into thinking it’s been infected.
  • Those self-made spike proteins would train our bodies to detect and terminate any real SARS-CoV-2 infections before the virus wreaks havoc.
  • The technique has been in development for more than 3 decades, but thanks to COVID-19, it is about to be put to the test like never before.

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