Elicio Therapeutics has reported promising findings from preclinical studies of ELI-005, a protein subunit, lymph node targeting Covid-19 vaccine candidate.

Data showed that the candidate could trigger a ‘high magnitude’ T-cell response and potent neutralising antibodies against Covid-19.

As antibody responses to the disease are short-lived, ELI-005’s induction of potent and long-lived antiviral T-cells could offer long-lasting protection, said Elicio.

Findings revealed up to 25-fold higher number of T-cells, compared to benchmark vaccines, in peripheral blood, lung tissue and respiratory fluid, among other sites that defend against Covid-19.

The company added that its vaccine candidate elicited 265-fold higher neutralising antibody responses to coronavirus proteins versus those found in convalescent Covid-19 patients.

ELI-005 reportedly demonstrated a Th1 T-cell (interferon-gamma, tumour necrosis factor-alpha) and Th1 antibody (IgG2bc) response profile, without any sign of risk for vaccine-associated enhanced respiratory disease (VAERD).

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Antibody and T-cell responses maintained in aged mice compared to younger animals.

Furthermore, ten-fold lower doses of the viral protein antigen maintained potent immune responses, indicating ELI-005’s potential to reduce the material required for population-wide immunisation.

Elicio Therapeutics executive vice-president, Research and Development head and chief medical officer Christopher Haqq said: “Low T-cell responses are a major challenge for Covid-19 vaccine development, and antibody response to natural infection is short-lived. We are excited to report that ELI-005 gave potent T-cell responses alongside antibody induction 265-fold higher than in recovering Covid-19 patients.

“The completed GMP manufacturing and toxicology studies for ELI-004 in Elicio’s ELI-002 vaccine for KRAS driven cancers should facilitate rapid clinical translation for ELI-005.”

ELI-005 comprises the ELI-004 amphiphile adjuvant with a hydrophobic albumin-binding lipid connected to a hydrophilic immune inducing CpG DNA oligonucleotide (AMP-CpG).

The second component of the vaccine candidate is the Covid-19 Spike protein receptor-binding domain (RBD).