Virologists from the Catholic University of Leuven presented the first results of their research into the effect of a vaccine this afternoon. The drug appears to work “particularly well” in hamsters, the researchers say. The vaccine will not be tested on humans until the end of the year.
Although there are already around 160 vaccines in development worldwide, so far few researchers have made their results public. This is the only candidate vaccine based on the existing yellow fever vaccine; a vaccine that has been used for decades and provides lifelong protection against yellow fever. “We won’t be the first, but we may be one of the better in the long run,” said one of the researchers.
The team, led by Professor Johan Neyts, began the investigation in January. Eight variants were tested, with this variant being the best.
According to Neyts, they saw “up to half a million times less virus” in hamsters who received the vaccine than in those who were infected but did not receive the vaccine. Also, the hamsters with the vaccine did not get pneumonia, while the other hamsters did.
“One dose of the vaccine was enough to protect against the infection. In several animals, this happened within ten days after the vaccination,” the researchers write.
Few side effects
Anke Huckriede, professor of vaccinology at the University of Groningen, thinks the results are promising. “The immune response is very good, both the amount of antibodies and the quality.” The study also shows that it is expected that there will be few side effects.
She finds it difficult to compare the results with other studies because only a few have been published and the studies are different. For example, the corona vaccine developed by the University of Oxford has been tested on monkeys.