EpiVax has partnered with University of Georgia (UGA) researcher Ted Ross for the development of a vaccine against Covid-19 caused by the coronavirus.
Ted Ross is a vaccine expert and director of UGA’s Center for Vaccines and Immunology (CVI).
EpiVax developed in silico / computational tools to detect the viral sequence regions that need to be included in vaccines while avoiding sequences linked to less effectiveness or safety.
Previously, the company used its vaccine reengineering approach to Avian influenza (H7N9) under a programme with UGA and UMASS Medical School. The programme receives its funds from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).
According to EpiVax, rapid analysis and vaccine design were effective for H7N9, expected to aid the Covid-19 vaccine candidate.
EpiVax and the Ross lab have sought more funds from the NIH to support the rapid development of their Covid-19 candidate.
Ross lab had already obtained the novel coronavirus for testing. The new vaccine candidate will be produced and tested at the lab.
In a separate development, Generex Biotechnology entered into a contract with EpiVax to leverage computational tools for identifying epitopes that can produce peptide vaccines against Covid-19.
Generex will also use its NuGenerex Immuno-Oncology Ii-Key technology.
EpiVax has detected multiple ‘hotspots’ in the amino acid sequences of coronavirus proteins.
Generex will now use epitopes predicted by EpiVax to generate a series of synthetic amino acid peptides that can imitate the virus’ epitopes. These peptides will be sent to China for testing with blood samples of coronavirus patients who have recovered.
The blood samples are expected to contain immune cells and antibodies that will recognise the peptides, proteins and nucleic acids of the virus.
With blood sample testing, the company aims to validate if the predicted sequences will be suitable vaccine peptides.
Last month, Generex signed a contract with four companies in China for the development of an Ii-Key Peptide-based Covid-19 vaccine.