7th STEP Meeting: COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate Results to Be Released in June
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Turkish Professor Ugur Sahin gave a speech on "Developing COVID-19 mRNA vaccines" during the closing ceremony of the 7th Science and Technology Exchange Program (STEP).
Organized by the Mustafa Science and Technology Foundation (MSTF), the 10-day forum was held virtually from May 18 to 28 with the participation of a number of prominent Muslim scientists from around the world. It attempted to provide the best possible platform through a virtual thematic meeting on the coronavirus and synergize the capacities and capabilities of scientists and experts in the Islamic world to help solve this global crisis.
The 2019 Mustafa(PBUH) Prize laureate immunologist Ugur Sahin talked about an mRNA-based vaccine that he and his research team have developed which was recently tested on humans.
"We are facing a pandemic the only solution to which is a vaccine. This pandemic will challenge us for the next two years "
Explaining the concept of mRNA vaccines, he said that "they deliver mRNA-encoded genetic information of the vaccine antigen to the cells in the body of the subject. It is particularly used in pandemics."
"mRNA vaccines can be designed and manufactured fast within weeks; they have intrinsic immune-stimulatory properties and do not require the addition of adjuvants; they are highly immunogenic and induce neutralizing antibodies as well as T-cell responses. They are also well-characterized biopharmaceuticals with high purity and are free of animal material," he added.
According to Sahin, the clinical trial protocol in Germany started April 23rd, 2020, with a target population of 200 healthy subjects aged 18 to 55. The objective of this was safety, tolerability, immunogenicity, in addition to determining the optimal dose for further studies."
He also announced that the first results of this study are expected by the end of June/early July.
"We have started to increase our manufacturing. I'm confident this can be accomplished in the next three months and be distributed in a large dose. Depending on the dose of the vaccine, we can serve larger populations of people," Sahin remarked.
He said, “We are trying to find a solution to allow free access of this vaccine to all with the cooperation of WHO.”