Vaccine development

Vaccine development

Vaccinating globally is a major challenge; it is necessary to establish the correct logistics to reach all countries, as well as to provide vaccines that are effective for all groups of people and protect against the different variants of the virus. Therefore, a wide range of vaccines will be needed to vaccinate the entire population and this will require an investment in biomedical research.

The virology and immune system expertise accumulated in IrsiCaixa over 25 years has enabled it to rapidly respond to the COVID-19 health emergency, and is working on the development of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 in order to provide new vaccine candidates and contribute to the fight against the pandemic. The project includes vaccines that stimulate the immune system against the new coronavirus but also aims to design new prototypes that could be efficient against SARS-CoV-2 variants or future coronaviruses that may emerge.

CBIG Consortium

IrsiCaixa's project for the development of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 is being carried out within the framework of the CBIG consortium, created at the end of 2019 and formed by the Animal Health Research Center (IRTA-CReSA), the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) and IrsiCaixa, and funded by the pharmaceutical company Grifols and the crowdfunding initiative #YoMeCorono.

Three fields of expertise

The vaccine design combines the expertise in biomedicine, bioinformatics and animal research of the institutions that constitute the CBIG. On the one hand, the BSC screens thousands of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and protein variants from the genetic sequence of the virus, published on January 10, 2019. On the other hand, IrsiCaixa contributes with its expertise in the immune system for the design and development of vaccines. In turn, IRTA-CReSA, a center with previous experience in handling coronaviruses, is in charge of testing the different vaccine prototypes designed by the consortium in animal models of infection.

Project approach

The consortium is currently using two different technologies: virus-like particles (VLPs) and recombinant proteins, which are being tested in cell cultures in the laboratory and in animal models, respectively.

In parallel to the vaccine research, the consortium is also working intensively on the generation of antibodies to serve as therapeutics against the infection, as well as on the identification of drugs with antiviral activity, among other projects.

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Irsi Caixa

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