COVID-19 cure: Scientists plan to develop 'self-spreading' coronavirus vaccine
While some countries are already seeing progress in containing or the slowing down of the spread of the coronavirus, millions of people are still affected by COVID-19 elsewhere. As scientists ramp up efforts in developing a cure for COVID-19, a group of researchers has proposed a kind of vaccine that could be transmitted.
Express reports researchers have proposed developing a kind of vaccine that could be transmitted from person to person. Called “self-disseminating vaccines,” they explain that this kind of COVID-19 cure could potentially prevent transmission of coronaviruses between animals and humans. However, this unusual method also comes with risks, such as the possibility of an accidental mutation that could have a negative or fatal effect on humans and wildlife. This risk comes despite the method being economical.
This proposal was in a piece published in Nature magazine called “Self-disseminating vaccines to suppress zoonoses.” The authors of the piece noted how advances in genetic engineering can help solve health crises like this through vaccines that could be transmitted from one person to another.
According to the University of Idaho’s James J. Bull and Scott L. Nuismer, “It is now more apparent than ever that we need a better and more proactive approach,” in stopping coronavirus outbreaks. The two researchers also explain a kind of method of vaccines that could self-transmit through “wild animal reservoirs” to keep the disease from potentially infecting human populations. The downside to this method is that it could bring the original virus back to its harmful state among other “unintended” effects.
Previously, another group of researchers has made a breakthrough in finding a potential COVID-19 cure. Researchers from the University of Bristol led by Professor Christiane Schaffitzel of the School of Biology and Professor Imre Berger from the Max Planck Bristol Center for Minimal Biology found that the coronavirus has a “pocket” on its surface that could be injected with antiviral drugs. This would stop the virus before it even enters a human cell. They found that the virus makes use of a molecule called linoleic acid to bind itself to human cells, and from there it starts replicating.
With these findings, the researchers are now faced with a challenge of how to use this attribute of the virus against itself to end the pandemic.