Here we are back in the studio and we still have Daniela Preziosi and Professor Pierluigi Lopalco with us answering your calls, so keep calling because we’ll be opening the lines again soon. Massimo De Manzoni is on the line from Milan. So we’re talking about the Coronavirus, pandemics and epidemics, but there is one magic word, which is the word “vaccine”. When is the vaccine coming? Who is working on the vaccine? Maria Grazia Gerina isn’t working on it but can tell us about it.
We’re coming into the controlled area where the vaccine will be produced.
We’re walking along this corridor that looks in on the production rooms. This is where the operators get dressed, we wear an additional layer of protection over these overalls we’re wearing now. This is the door to the room that leads to the laboratories, so from here there is another level of security and operators enter using an access code, but we’re going to stop here today.
We’re at the laboratories in Pomezia where production is about to start of an experimental Coronavirus vaccine on which ADVENT IRBM researches are working with Oxford University’s Jenner Institute.
We’re now entering the laboratories where the vaccine will be tested once produced. This is the laboratory where we also made the Ebola vaccine, using the same platform we’ll now be using for the Coronavirus vaccine. The vaccine is based on an adeno-virus, a common virus that causes the cold, which is deactivated and modified so that the piece of DNA that corresponds to the surface protein of the Coronavirus can be inserted into it. The host’s immune system senses this protein, recognizes it as foreign and generates antibodies.
We’ll be going in there to produce it shortly.
The epidemic in Italy is already happening, but what are your timings?
The vaccine is being built. We’ll need to see first how it responds to animal and then human trials.
We’ll need to test its safety and effectiveness.
We think we’ll have the first 1000 doses by June and they’ll be used for tests on animals. By July we’ll be ready to move on to the human phase. The timings will then be set by the national and international regulatory authorities. To give you an example, when we produced the doses for the Ebola vaccine, for the human trials, they authorized us within a day, instead of months or years, as normally happens.
I hope there will be no need given the extreme urgency.