May 22, 2020 -- City of Hope released details of multiple COVID-19 research projects, including the development of two potential vaccines, new therapies, and better screening approaches.
One of the vaccines that City of Hope researchers are working on is an engineered hybrid "naked DNA" vaccine. The vaccine will fuse genetic material encoding a chemokine to induce an immune response. The researchers have experience moving a lymphoma vaccine through clinical trials. Using the same platform for the COVID-19 vaccine will speed the rate of development.
City of Hope scientists are also exploring whether natural killer (NK) cells have antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2. One group is engineering NK cells with both interleukin-15 (IL-15) and a chimeric antigen receptor targeting the virus's spike protein. Another group is using B cells from recovered patients to make antibodies against the spike protein.
Scientists are also engineering nanoparticles to be delivered through the nose or intravenously to target the lungs, where the virus appears to do the most damage. This treatment would target up to three distinct regions of the SARS-CoV-2 RNA simultaneously.