Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have developed a potential vaccine administered by a fingertip-sized patch to neutralize the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19.
A scientific paper about the vaccine candidate known as PittCoVacc — Pittsburgh Coronavirus Vaccine — is being published Thursday by EBioMedicine, which is part of the renowned British medical journal The Lancet. PittCoVacc has been tested already in mice by Pitt scientists and created antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 within two weeks of delivery by a microneedle prick, according to Pitt. And while long-term studies haven’t been possible yet due to the speed of the pandemic, the study suggests antibody levels could be sufficient to squelch the virus for at least a year.
But it’s not an immediate vaccine to stop the spread of the COVID-19 global pandemic, which has infected nearly 1 million people worldwide and has killed thousands in the United States alone. Pitt is applying for approval for an investigational new drug with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and hopes to start a phase-one clinical trial in the next several months. The testing phase would take at least a year and maybe more, according to Dr. Louis Falo, chair of dermatology at the Pitt school of medicine and UPMC who is also a co-senior author.