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The University of Pittsburgh, US, has begun efforts to develop a vaccine against the Covid-19 disease caused by the new severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).

Currently, the university is in the process of obtaining samples of the coronavirus. The university’s Center for Vaccine Research is exploring samples of the live virus from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The coronavirus samples will be used to create disease models to facilitate vaccine development.

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine health sciences senior vice-chancellor Arthur Levine said: “As researchers and as an institution we have a duty to do everything we can to learn more about the novel coronavirus and develop a vaccine to help those in need. The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is one of the few institutions in the country equipped to work with this virus.”

The university plans to leverage its research expertise and facilities, including the Biosafety Level 3 laboratory at the Center for Vaccine Research.

Vaxil identifies Covid-19 vaccine candidate

Israeli immunotherapy biotech Vaxil Bio has announced the identification of a potential Covid-19 vaccine candidate, following in silico analyses.

The vaccine candidate is based on signal peptide technology and used the company’s VaxHit bioinformatics platform. Vaxil added that the candidate’s design builds on in-vivo testing of a tuberculosis signal peptide vaccine.

Vaxil Bio chairman and CEO David Goren said: “We have identified signal peptide combinations which we believe can be effective as a prophylactic vaccine against the current coronavirus and might also demonstrate therapeutic value in the future.”

The company intends to commence non-GMP manufacturing and testing while seeking alliances and other opportunities.