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Universities in Nottingham to play a key role in the development of a potential DNA vaccine against COVID-19

Scientists at the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University will contribute essential virology expertise to help develop a safe and effective vaccine to prevent COVID-19.

Universities in Nottingham to play a key role in the development of a potential DNA vaccine against COVID-19

Experts from both universities will assist Scancell Holdings plc, a developer of novel immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer, to adapt its existing cancer vaccine platform for the development of a new vaccine.

Virologists at the University of Nottingham’s Centre for Research on Global Virus Infections have identified parts of the novel coronavirus that they hope will generate an immune response that will prevent future infection by the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. This information is being used by Scancell to design DNA-based vaccines to allow easy and effective delivery of the virus vaccine into humans to produce virus killing antibodies and T cells.

Work at Nottingham Trent University’s John van Geest Cancer Research Centre will screen the new vaccine for its capacity to trigger immune responses against COVID-19, prior to the new approaches being tested in healthy volunteers. This new vaccine has the potential to generate protection not only against SARS-CoV-2, but also against new strains of coronavirus that may arise in the future.

The project will be led by Professor Lindy Durrant, Chief Scientific Officer at Scancell, and Professor of Cancer Immunotherapy at the University of Nottingham, in collaboration with Professor Jonathan Ball and other colleagues in the Centre for Global Virus Infections and the new Biodiscovery Institute at the University of Nottingham, and the John van Geest Cancer Research Centre at Nottingham Trent University.

A hand, wearing a bright blue glove, holds a small glass bottle with a white cap. The bottle is labelled with a white label which reads “Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine – injection only – 15 ml – Store frozen”.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, Scancell has been evaluating how it can best contribute its expertise and resources to help in the global response. Vaccines are the long-term solution and we believe our approach has the potential to produce a second-generation vaccine that will generate an effective and durable immune response to COVID-19.”

Professor Lindy Durrant, Chief Scientific Officer at Scancell, and Professor of Cancer Immunotherapy at the University of Nottingham