Applied DNA, Takis expand COVID-19 vaccine development

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

April 3, 2020 -- Applied DNA and Takis Biotech have added a fifth candidate to their COVID-19 vaccine development program, increasing the chances of a successor emerging.

Production of all vaccine candidates is expected to be completed in April at Applied DNA's LinearDNA production facility in New York. Italy's Ministry of Health also has approved these candidates for preclinical animal testing that is scheduled to begin in late April, according to the companies.

Takis Biotech will use the LinearDNA synthetic genes produced by Applied DNA for each of the five potential vaccines to inoculate mice whose sera will be tested for the presence of antibodies that bind to the purified spike proteins of the novel coronavirus. Those candidates that bind successfully to the proteins will be tested for their abilities to neutralize COVID-19 by preventing uptake of the virus in cells in culture and in animal models.

No commercial partner has been identified to take the COVID-19 vaccine to market nor have the companies received any indication that their applications to develop countermeasures would be approved by regulators, according to Applied DNA and Takis Biotech.

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