The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine scientists and UPMC physicians held a press conference at 11 A.M. Thursday where they discussed a potential vaccine against Sars-cov-2, the new coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pitt’s researchers were able to work quickly on this potential vaccine because they already had the groundwork laid out during earlier epidemics. Dr. Louis Falo, professor and chair of the Department of Dermatology at the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC spoke on the vaccine
“For vaccine delivery, our lab developed a micro-needle array approach. It is a bandaid-like patch, that has hundreds of microscopic needles made up of a sugar-like substance that rapidly dissolves in the body.” said Falo. “The skin is our first line of defense against viruses, bacteria, and other harmful invaders. Because of that, it has evolved to be very efficient to mounting immune responses. Which means less vaccine is needed compared to a traditional shot.”
Falo also spoke about the creation of the vaccine itself.
“Our process for making this vaccine does not require any overly complex or expensive equipment, so it is very scalable. At the present time in our lab, one person with a set of molds and a centrifuge can make hundreds of micro needle arrays in a single day. Another important feature is that unlike most current vaccines, this vaccine doesn’t need to be kept frozen or refrigerated.”
The next step for the vaccine is to get FDA approval for clinical testing on humans before it can be made available to the public.
To view the news conference, click here.