US researchers developing Covid-19 vaccine ‘patches’ reveal promising results

RESEARCHERS and doctors from UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh have today announced promising results of a potential Covid-19 vaccine that they’re currently working on.

Called PittCoVacc (short for Pittsburgh Coronavirus Vaccine), the vaccine in the form of a fingertip-sized patch, is reported to contain enough antibodies to neutralise the virus. “It’s actually pretty painless. It feels kind of like Velcro,” said Louis Falo, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair of Dermatology at Pitt’s School of Medicine and UPMC.

The vaccine has so far shown promising results on lab rats, however, it has yet to be tested on humans. Despite the initial promising results, it might be months before it can be even be tested on humans. “Testing in patients would typically require at least a year and probably longer,” Falo said. “This particular situation is different from anything we’ve ever seen, so we don’t know how long the clinical development process will take.”

The researchers have confirmed that the process of applying for an investigational new drug approval from the US Food and Drug Administration has already been started, and they expect to start “phase I human clinical trial in the next few months”. The lab is also exploring ways to speed up the trialling process. “Recently announced revisions to the normal processes suggest we may be able to advance this faster,” added Falo.

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Pepi Sappal

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