DNA vaccines provide enhanced Covid-19 protection and more

Scientists Develop New SARS-COV-2 Vaccine Based on DNA Structures

Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the MGH Ragon Institute, Massachusetts Institute and Harvard have developed a new SARS-COV-2 vaccine that is based on DNA structures. This innovative vaccine is designed to induce a strong immune response specifically targeted towards the antigens of the virus, while bypassing unnecessary reactions of the immune system.

The new approach utilizes a DNA scaffold, which contains multiple copies of the viral antigen. This type of vaccine, known as a partial vaccine, mimics the structure of the virus. Unlike previous vaccines that used protein scaffolds and caused undesirable immune reactions, the DNA scaffold does not trigger such reactions. This allows the immune system to focus solely on the target antigen.

Mark Bate, a professor of biological engineering at the Massachusetts Technological Institute, highlights that DNA does not distract antibodies from targeting the protein of interest. He explains, “It can be imagined that the B-cells and the immune system are completely focused on the target antigen. This is exactly what we want – that the immune system is laserly focused on an interesting antigen.”

This approach could simplify the development of vaccines against challenging viruses, including HIV, influenza, and SARS-COV-2. Unlike T cells stimulated by other types of vaccines, the B cells induced by this DNA-based vaccine could provide long-lasting protection that lasts for decades.

One potential issue with this type of vaccine is that the proteins used in the scaffold often stimulate the production of antibodies targeting the scaffold itself. This can divert the attention of the immune system and weaken the overall immune response. However, by utilizing a DNA scaffold created using DNA-arches, researchers can precisely control the structure of the synthetic DNA and attach various molecules, such as viral antigens, at specific locations.

In a previous 2020 study, Bate and Darrell Irvin, a professor of biological engineering and materials science at the Massachusetts Technological Institute, demonstrated that a DNA scaffold carrying 30 copies of an HIV antigen elicited a strong immune response from laboratory-grown B cells. In

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