Vaccine two-fer: ‘Synthetic protein’ technology used in Vaxxinity’s COVID shot can treat neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

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Credit: MSN
Credit: MSN

US biotech company Vaxxinity is developing a novel coronavirus vaccine using synthetic proteins, which can also help treat neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, the media reported.

The company’s vaccine against Covid-19, known as UB-612, is currently in phase 2 trials. It uses the traditional recombinant protein coronavirus vaccine technology, but instead of growing proteins in large vats, Vaxxinity’s proteins are made using chemicals.

These so-called synthetic peptides mimic the spike protein, as other vaccines do, but also other proteins from the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The company uses a technique that it is also applying to its “immunotherapeutic” vaccines that “train the body to produce its own antibodies against internal targets of disease”.

“Some of the most successful drugs today are biologics drugs, but they are very expensive and often rather inconvenient to use. Our vision is to disrupt that class of drugs by next-tier, next-generation vaccines,” [said] Mei Mei Hu, chief executive of Vaxxinity.

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Vaxxinity’s Alzheimer’s drug encourages the body to clear misfolded proteins called amyloid plaques from the brain, because genetic analysis has linked them to symptoms of the disease.

As the phase 2 trial was not large enough to draw statistically valid conclusions, the company is moving on to a larger study, Hu said. 

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