Unlike most investigations conducted by scientists around the world to find an effective vaccine against the new coronavirus, the disease of which has already caused more than 8,200 deaths, researchers at the Immunology laboratory of the Instituto do Coracão (Incor) of the Faculdade de Medicina da University of São Paulo (USP) do not intend to achieve the vaccine against the new coronavirus through the genetic material of the pathogen, but through artificial particles similar to the virus.
“We believe that this way, despite being safe, does not induce a very strong immune response and generally, when we test this RNA vaccine [ácido ribonucleico, o composto orgânico base deste coronavírus] in human beings, we have a fragile response ”, stated Incor director and project coordinator, Jorge Kalil, quoted by the news agency Efe.
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Wash your hands frequently, especially after direct contact with sick people, with detergent, soap or alcohol-based solutions;
Wash your hands whenever you blow, sneeze or cough;
Avoid direct contact with live animals in markets in areas affected by outbreaks;
Adopt respiratory etiquette measures: cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing (with tissue or with your arm, never with your hands; throw the tissue in the trash);
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Follow the recommendations of the health authorities of the country where you are located.
According to researcher Gustavo Cabral, one of those responsible for the project also consulted by Efe, the premise of this research is to “not use the genetic material”, due to the little existing information about the new coronavirus, and to develop structures similar to this one.
“We do not know the virus well and the information we have is insufficient to design a vaccine that uses genetic material,” said Cabral.
The Brazilian team is thus resorting to “particles like viruses” [‘virus-like particles’, ou VLP], created in the laboratory using molecular biology techniques and easily recognized by the cells of the immune system.
According to Jorge Kalil, the vaccine proposed by Incor presents “the external part of a virus, but it does not have nucleic acids inside, which is what allowsDivulgare to multiply”.
“We can make pieces of the coronavirus protein on the surface of these particles, so that the immune system understands them as viruses, gives a strong response and is able to produce antibodies against that part of the coronavirus that we want to attack,” added the coordinator of the project.