Biotech breakthrough in virus vaccines

The National Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (Biotec) recently announced the success of developing a pseudotyped virus for a Covid-19 vaccine and drug trials.

Anan Jongkaewwattana, director of the Veterinary Health Innovation and Management Research Group of Biotec, said researchers have successfully created an innocuous pseudotyped virus for all strains for the first time.

"It is made to imitate SARS-CoV-2, which uses its spike protein for binding and entering cells. Researchers have taken and inserted it into another harmless virus," he said.

Anan Jongkaewwattana, director of the Veterinary Health Innovation and Management Research Group at Biotec. (Photos courtesy of Biotec)

The World Health Organization has accepted the technology in terms of efficiency and safety. Previously, researchers took the virus from patients and multiplied it in the laboratory for developing treatment at their own risk.

Anan said the success of developing a pseudotyped virus allows researchers to be proactive at work. When the mutant is identified, they can duplicate the virus from its genetic code without having to wait for local infection.

"It is safe and fast because a pseudotyped virus can show results in 48 hours, down from five to six days. In terms of volume, 90 samples can be tested in a single trial, up from six samples. It can also reduce cost by up to 30%," he said.

Biotec has used the technology for developing homegrown coronavirus vaccines, such as Chula-CoV-19, Baiya Vaccine, and HXP-GPOVac. It is also applicable to other viruses.

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