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Explained: What is a DNA vaccine? India News


NEW DELHI: As the world collectively battles the Covid-19 pandemic, scientists now seek to develop a DNA vaccine that can train the human immune system to protect itself from infection even before it takes root.
There are currently several safety concerns surrounding the launch of vaccines in different countries and therefore the immunological and logistical benefits of different vaccines are being examined.
While initial results show no progress yet, many large companies, such as Johnson & Johnson (J&J), are taking a step forward to help reduce the number of cases across countries.
The J&J vaccine uses a similar technology proven against HIV
J&J is developing vaccines using technologies that were previously tested with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).
What is interesting to note here is that while the human immune system does not self-heal HIV, it is quite capable of self-healing Covid-19.
The J&J vaccine uses adenovirus technology similar to its Covid-19 vaccine, in other words, a genetically modified cold virus provides genetic load carrying instructions for the host to develop “mosaic immunogens.” These molecules are capable of inducing an immune response to a wide variety of HIV strains.
More people now have access to medicines called antiretroviral therapy or ART, which helps keep the amount of virus in your body low.
This keeps them healthy and they cannot pass HIV to their partners.
Results of the HIV vaccine candidate trial expected by the end of the year
J&J is currently conducting two human efficacy trials for its HIV vaccine candidate. Initial results for one of the vaccines are expected to be released later this year, said Schuitemaker, the firm’s global head of viral vaccine discovery.
The candidate vaccine is also being tested in 2,600 women in sub-Saharan Africa.
It is also being tested on around 3,800 men who have sex with men and transgender people in the US, South America and Europe in the Mosaic trial.

Vaccines raise antibodies that can protect against variants

The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and Scripps Research recently announced the results of an early-stage trial showing that their vaccine candidate stimulated the production of rare immune cells.
Vaccines, like Novavax, are protein-based and work by eliciting antibodies that bind to the protein in the virus’s spike and prevent it from infecting other human cells.
This is necessary as a first step in the process of inducing “broadly neutralizing antibodies” or bnAbs. The range of antibodies should provide better protection, as well as protect someone from the different variants.
Currently, they are partnering with Moderna to develop a messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) and are hopeful that mRNA technology, which turns the body’s cells into vaccine factories, could make a difference.

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