'Warm' COVID-19 vaccine in the pipeline

·1-min read

A 'warm' COVID vaccine proven to be effective against key variants of the virus could soon help provide remote areas across the globe with access to the jab.

The heat-tolerant vaccine, tested by Australian researchers, is designed with resource-limited locations lacking access to cold storage supply chains in mind.

Scientists from the CSIRO tested several variations of the vaccine on mice, finding it triggered a strong immune response, and on hamsters, who were protected from the virus.

The team also discovered the vaccine solutions - developed by the Indian Institute of Science and biotech company Mynvax - remained effective at 37deg for up to a month and at 100deg for up to 90 minutes.

Most vaccines require refrigeration to remain effective, like Oxford-AstraZeneca which must be kept between 2deg and 8deg and Pfizer which requires specialised cold storage at -70deg.

CSIRO's Health and Biosecurity Director Dr Rob Grenfell said the new vaccine, still in the development phase, could eventually assist in Australia's own rollout.

"A thermostable or 'warm vaccine' is critical for remote or resource-limited locations with extremely hot climates which lack reliable cold storage supply chains, including regional communities in Australia's outback and the Indo-Pacific region," he said.

CSIRO's evaluation of the different Mynvax formulations will support selection of the most suitable solution to be progressed to human clinical trials in India later this year.

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