UK team developing coronavirus vaccine for use in animals
UK scientists have begun work on coronavirus vaccine for use in animals to prevent the future emergence of diseases such as COVID-19.
Plymouth-based firm The Vaccine Group (TVG) is working in partnership with Shanghai Veterinary Research Institute in China and Kansas State University. They aim to develop a vaccine designed to prevent COVID-19 and related coronaviruses jumping from animals into humans.
TVG, which is also working on vaccines to combat bovine tuberculosis and African swine fever, believes it is the only company adopting such an approach.
“As COVID-19 has shown, the spillover of disease from animals to humans can have a very high social, economic and commercial cost globally,” explained TVG founder and chief scientific officer, associate professor Dr Michael Jarvis.
“Naturally there has been a swift move into funding the development of human vaccines and therapeutics, but to date, we are not aware of any approaches to eliminate COVID-19 in the animal population to prevent future outbreaks or re-emergence of the disease.“
He continued: “The animal species involved in emergence of COVID-19 remain unclear. We believe that such a vaccine tool may be vital for control of COVID-19 as well as other emerging coronaviruses.”
The research is backed by more than £9 million in grant funding from the Chinese, UK and US Governments.