Engineered virus might be able to block coronavirus infection, mouse study shows.

Presently there is no available vaccine for the prevention of Coronavirus infection in human beings. Even SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, or the viruses that cause SARS and MERS has no specific antidote. As the pandemic continues to cause nightmare worldwide, majority of the labs in the world have created a laser-like focus for to get deep knowledge about the virus and to discover a better way to curtail the spread and permanent solution.

Case Study

In the fight against the Coronavirus ravaging the tire planet, a lot of research has been going on by scientist and medical experts. The American Society for Microbiology is working tirelessly to save mankind from the COVID-19. Below is their latest breakthrough in finding the permanent for the pandemic.


  • Presently their is no available cure for human coronavirus infections. A new intranasal vaccine using an RNA virus for gene delivery prevents fatal MERS coronavirus infections in mice.
  • The researchers  genetically engineered the mice to be easily influence by the MERS virus. All the mice that were injected with the vaccine recovered, while those that didn’t receive the vaccine died.
  • From the above mice experiment, the researchers are now applying the same method to create a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that cause COVID-19, which has spread and infected a million people or moreworldwide.

On 7th of April in mBio, a journal was brought out by the American Society of Microbiology, an integration of different disciplinary researchers describes a hopeful vaccine candidate against the MERS virus. Since the first outbreak of MERS in 2012, the death recorded is above 850. According to studies, it shows that the virus has a case fatality rate is above 30%.

In the new paper, the researchers came up with a possibility that the method they used for a MERS virus vaccine may also be applicable to SARS-CoV-2. The vaccine’s delivery method is an RNA virus called parainfluenza virus 5 (PIV5), which is believed to cause a condition known as kennel cough in dogs but appears harmless to people. The researchers increased the number of gene to the virus so that infected cells would produce the S, or spike, glycoprotein which contributes in MERS infections.

“we know people have been exposed to PIV5, but it seems to be an harmless virus in humans,” said pediatric pulmonologist and coronavirus expert Paul McCray, M.D., at the University of Iowa, in Iowa City, who co-led the new study with virologist Biao He, Ph.D., at the University of Georgia, in Athens. “ Parainfluenza virus 5 (PIV5) does not appear to cause a cytopathic effect.” The MERS virus cannot replicate in mice, so to test the vaccine McCray created a mouse model that mimics human infections. The mice was genetically engineered to express DPP4, which is the protein normally used by the MERS virus as an entry point for human cells.

According to the Lab tests it show’s that a single dose of the vaccine, given intranasally, effectively caused infected cells to generate the S protein, which in turn activates immune responses against the protein in the animal host.

Twenty-eight days (roughly a month) after the mice received the vaccine, they were exposed to a strain of the MERS virus, adapted to the mice to cause a lethal infection. The MERS virus was also given to groups of mice that had received a different PIV5 vaccine—one without the genes for the S protein—or an intramuscular vaccine with inactivated MERS virus.

All the mice that were immunized with the modified PIV5 virus recovered from MERS virus infection. In contrast, all the mice immunized with the PIV5 without S died from the infection. The intramuscular vaccine of inactivated MERS virus only protected 25% of the mice against the deadly infection. The mice that received inactivated MERS virus showed above-average levels of eosinophils, white blood cells that indicate infection or inflammation. This connection raises a safety concern for inactivated MERS virus as a potential vaccine, said He. The study demonstrates that an intranasal, PIV5-based vaccine is effective against MERS in mice, said He, and should be investigated for its potential against other dangerous coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2.

“We’re quite interested in using viruses as gene delivery vehicles,” said McCray, who has also investigated similar strategies as a way to treat cystic fibrosis. Now, like colleagues globally, McCray and He have both put most of their research energies on SARS-CoV-2, taking a similar tack to working with mouse models of infection and testing vaccines.

Hope For Coronavirus Infection Solution

Finding an effective vaccine against the coronavirus infection that causes COVID-19 is a race against time, McCray said. “One hundred percent of the population is not going to be exposed to the virus the first time around, which means there will be more people to infect when it comes again,” he said. “We don’t know yet if people get lasting immunity from the SARS-CoV-2 infection, so it’s important to think about ways to protect the population.”

The American Society for Microbiology is one of the largest professional societies dedicated to the life sciences and is composed of 30,000 scientists and health practitioners. ASM’s primary objective is to promote and advance the microbial sciences.

ASM road map to advance the microbial sciences is through conferences, publications, certifications and educational opportunities. It improves laboratory capacity worldwide through constant training and resources. It provides an interconnection for scientists in academia, industry and clinical settings. Additionally, ASM advocates a deeper knowledge of the microbial sciences to diverse audiences.

Source:  American Society for Microbiology

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