Cel-Sci reports positive early results with COVID-19 LEAPS conjugate

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

July 24, 2020 -- Cel-Sci completed animal testing using its Ligand Epitope Antigen Presentation System (LEAPS) COVID-19 conjugate, which means the firm can now move into animal challenge studies with the live SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The research showed LEAPS COVID-19 conjugates induced faster and much higher than expected antibody responses against a nonmutating region of the SARS-CoV-2 virus after only one injection. Cel-Sci noted that immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies were generated within 10 days of a single immunization. Generation of IgG requires activation of dendritic, T, and B cells in order to promote the class switch from the IgM to the IgG antibody, the firm said.

The next phase of Cel-Sci's research will take place at the University of Georgia Vaccine Center, where the company will try to replicate the success of the animal challenge studies that were conducted at the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases emerging diseases laboratory during the H1N1 flu outbreak.

The LEAPS COVID-19 conjugate uses the same concepts that were constructed for the LEAPS H1N1 conjugate, which was successfully employed in previous H1N1 flu studies. In those studies, the LEAPS H1N1 conjugate reduced morbidity and mortality after virus challenge as a therapeutic intervention.

"We believe these results and the positive results achieved in studies with LEAPS constructs in other diseases are strongly suggestive that the LEAPS COVID-19 challenge studies at the University of Georgia Vaccine Center may also be successful," Cel-Ssci said.

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