Health

Florida scientists develop new COVID-19 vaccine to protect against multiple variants

Researchers said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine works against the COVID-19 variants and protects us against serious illness.

But what about future variants?

On Wednesday, researchers confirmed another new variant in New York City.

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There’s work being done in Florida to protect against those, too.

Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida have developed a new kind of vaccine that can protect us from many COVID-19 variants, not just one.

Our current vaccines still do a good job of protecting us, but could future variants undermine our vaccines?

Experts say maybe.

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“We’re entering an era where the rate of mutations that escape from vaccines will accelerate.” Said Mike Farzan, a coronavirus expert with Scripps Research Institute.

But instead of vaccines targeting just one variant, can they target multiple ones?

Farzan said yes.

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He and his team recently proved that from their lab in Jupiter, Florida.

Our current vaccines only tell our bodies about one variant, so our immune systems only make antibodies for that one variant.

Farzan’s vaccine can display up to 24 variants, meaning protection against all of them.

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“(It gives) a broad response to the virus, meaning if you get this vaccine, you will not only be vaccinated against variant A and B, but also variant C, that’s not even yet in the in the population,” Farzan said.

Farzan’s wife is trying to predict all the different ways the coronavirus can mutate. They can single out the most dangerous mutations and include that in their vaccine.

Farzan’s vaccine is currently being evaluated by one of the leading vaccine makers.

If it goes to market, another good thing about the vaccine is that it does not need super-cold storage, so it will be easier to distribute.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.