A booster treatment containing the same natural preservative as the regular human vaccines is being launched to the emergency workforce in response to the Zika virus outbreak.
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Originally developed as an anti-influenza booster, COVID-19 is made from sialic acid. The natural preservative is derived from the close relatives of the human cells, therefore also giving it the same activity as the current virus vaccines.
COVID-19, which is licensed in a dozen countries and used in emergency interventions, is manufactured by New Generation Vaccines in Salisbury. It was successfully trialled in April 2015, in two studies, in the deadliest of the dozens of cases of the Zika virus in babies. The results showed a very low incidence of blood and spleen infection.
Dr Simon Jones, the company’s co-chief executive, said: “The mechanisms by which COVID-19 protects the immune system against outbreaks of disease-causing pathogens are still unknown, although the vaccine does have the potential to provide additional protection in the event of disease-causing infections.”
The platform has now been approved for clinical use to prevent dengue fever. The trial will be conducted by the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, Canada.