UK-Based Start-Up Working On Next COVID-19 Vaccine Using Animal Feces: FT

  • DIOSynVax, a UK start-up, hopes genetic sequences of viruses discovered in animal feces will give vital clues for creating a vaccine to help prevent future pandemics, reports Financial Times.
  • The Cambridge university spinout is working on two vaccines that it believes will outlive the currently available Covid-19 jabs, including the one created by researchers at rival Oxford University. 
  • Jonathan Heeney first became interested in coronaviruses when he diagnosed them in cats and cheetahs during his studies.
  • “By looking at animals, we’re better able to protect ourselves from the next pandemic or the next virus that is likely to cause a disease,” he said. 
  • He said DIOSynVax uses the genomic sequences of coronaviruses in all species to identify their “Achilles heel.” Scientists use computational biology tools to locate regions of the virus that cannot change without killing itself. 
  • The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations has invested up to $42 million in DIOSynVax.
  • It is partnering with German biotech Ethris to manufacture the vaccine. The company already has a Covid-19 vaccine in an early-stage clinical trial. It believes it will be better at tackling variants than the vaccines based on the variant discovered in Wuhan in late 2019.
  • Photo by Gerd Altman via Pixabay
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