COVID-19: Medigen to develop next-generation vaccine on beta variant
By Kao Shih-ching / Journalist
Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp (高端 疫苗) plans to develop its next-generation COVID-19 vaccine using a sequence of the beta variant of SARS-CoV-2, which was first detected in South Africa, said the company in a statement on Thursday.
The company’s animal testing showed that a booster based on the beta variant prompted hamsters to immunize against all variants of the virus, he said.
Medigen is looking to conduct human trials for the vaccine in Taiwan, but it would not necessarily need to conduct Phase 1 clinical trials, the first step involving human testing, company spokesman Leo Lee said on Friday. (李思賢) to the Taipei Times by phone.
Photo: Billy HC Kwok, Bloomberg
The drugmaker would consult with the local drug regulator regarding the protocol for the next round of clinical trials, Lee said.
Medigen conducted research in May on whether a third dose of its current vaccine would boost immunity against the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, the company said.
He administered the doses to 45 participants six months after receiving the first two injections, the company said.
In separate trials on hamsters, the drugmaker tested their immune response to other major variants after receiving three doses, he said.
Medigen said he divided the research into five sub-trials: in the first, he gave the hamsters two injections developed on the original virus; in the second, he gave them two plans developed on the Beta variant; in the third, he gave “bivalent” vaccines containing the two strains; in the fourth, he gave three developed hits on the original virus; and in the fifth, he gave two injections developed on the original virus and one additional injection developed on the beta variant.
Hamsters in all five groups developed antibodies, while those given a third injection, whether based on the original virus or the beta variant, had higher antibody levels than those who received than two injections, the company said.
Hamsters who received two injections developed on the original virus and a third based on the beta variant developed the highest levels of antibodies, whether infected with the Alpha, Beta, Gamma or Delta variants, a indicated the company.
The viral loads in the lungs and nasal cavities of the hamsters in this group significantly decreased eight weeks after receiving the third injection, he added.
Medigen shares gained 1.65% to NT $ 278 in Taipei trading on Friday.
The share price has risen 169.9% so far this year, according to data from the Taipei Stock Exchange.
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