Emergex, a medical company based in Oxfordshire, has just received the green light to begin clinical trials of a special vaccine against COVID-19. A graduated-release patch vaccine that uses T lymphocytes to kill virus-infected cells.
The experimentation will be conducted by Prof Blaise Genton of the Center for Primary Care and Public Health of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, with 26 participants in total. The first results are expected in June 2022.
“This is the first time that a body has approved tests for a COVID-19 vaccine whose sole purpose is to generate a targeted T-cell response in the absence of an antibody response. T lymphocytes that look for infected cells and kill them, ”he says Robin Cohen, Chief Commercial Officer of Emergex. This second-generation solution could provide individuals with longer lasting immunity than currently available options.
But how exactly does the principle of these anti Covid "patches" work?
Imagine the virus as an asteroid about to crash into a planet. T lymphocytes are the "missiles" that identify it and set off to hit it before it can do any damage. Last week, a newly published study showed that some individuals have "abortive immunity". They are exposed to the virus and do not get sick. Their T lymphocytes have the ability to break it down - this research could lead to future vaccines with more lasting protection.
Danny Altmann, a professor of immunology at Imperial College London, thinks it's possible that the patched T-cell vaccine will work in conjunction with mRNA vaccines to further increase its effectiveness. A combination of them could constitute an infallible remedy against a virus and its mutations.
Microneedle patches are an ideal solution, because they would allow these active ingredients to be administered painlessly and conveniently, excluding the need for refrigeration and allowing them to be transported and stored even in areas without electricity.