Kiwi covid vaccine developer reacts to market competitors – looks at T-Cells

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Covid-19 Vaccine Corporation (CVC) is changing its vaccine stategy following news of success by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccine companies.

“The unexpectedly good results from Pfizer and Moderna come as excellent news for the global community and one we are very pleased about, but it has also led to a change of strategy for our company,” says CVC Chief Executive Dr Robert Feldman.

“Based on these results, we believe our pre-clinical projects based on spike proteins should not be progressed, but rather, to research and develop the technology required to augment vaccine candidates that reach the market.”

CVC, which is using New Zealand biobead technology, has been working on two areas of vaccine development: a B-cell antigen and a T-cell antigen. 

The first, a B-cell antigen, was designed to achieve similar results to Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines along with many other pipeline candidates. These vaccines are based on the spike protein which is the element of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that sticks out from the surface. The second, a T-cell antigen, is designed to produce an immune response that specifically destroys the infected cells only.

CVC is progressing its T-cell antigen, both bound and unbound to the biobeads. It aims to test both versions and progress whichever gives the best results. All leading vaccine products rely primarily of the induction of antibodies that block the virus entering human cells. 

In response to the change in strategy, the company has withdrawn its PledgeMe campaign, which it launched in November to raise $3.5 million in equity crowdfunding to produce the world’s first biobead vaccine.

“CVC’s T-cell vaccine is designed to work differently using an arm of the immune system called cytotoxic T-cell immunity,” says Dr Robert Feldman.

“If effective, the vaccine will teach the immune system to recognise just those cells infected with the virus and destroy them, leaving uninfected cells untouched.

“The T-cell vaccine uses parts of the SARS-Cov-2 virus other than the spike protein. Our T-cell vaccine, if effective, will enhance other vaccines and protect against virus mutations.”

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