Viravaxx AG, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company based in Vienna, announced that it has launched a project to create an integrated immunodiagnostic and vaccination platform for COVID-19 together with the Medical University of Vienna.
Based on the partners‘ novel microchip technology platform, a microarray is composed, on which the structural proteins of the SARS-CoV-2-virus in glycosylated and non-glycosylated form as well as certain relevant fragments of the proteins and a library of overlapping peptides from virus proteins are represented.
This microarray – thereby covering the whole proteome of the virus – allows high resolution mapping of antigenic determinants eliciting an immune response following infection. Furthermore, an ELISA assay capable of analysing the interaction of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein with its receptor is established.
In a clinical study, which has already received ethics approval and will start very soon, sera from convalescent COVID-19 patients will be tested for virus neutralisation capacity and for epitope mapping. 200 patients with mild and 200 patients with severe course of the disease will be enrolled and compared to 200 healthy controls.
These data and pseudonymised clinical records using machine learning algorithms contributed by the Technical University of Munich will be correlated to derive antibody signatures. Both tests together are expected to deliver reliable results about the development of protective immunity. These signatures and the identification of epitopes eliciting a virus neutralising antibody response will enable the design of vaccine candidates using our proprietary PCFiT- (peptide- carrier-fusion) platform.
These vaccines will be tested for immunogenicity in animal models, and the immune response will be analysed with our microarray and the neutralization ELISA. They will subsequently be moved to clinical testing in the shortest possible timeframe.