UF Health Researchers Working to Develop COVID-19 Vaccine Using Gene Therapy Technique (UF Health Newsroom)

UF Health Researchers Working to Develop COVID-19 Vaccine Using Gene Therapy Technique

A team of University of Florida Health researchers is using an established gene therapy technique to quickly develop a COVID-19 vaccine that could be tested in humans later this year.

The technique uses a harmless virus to help fight a harmful virus. In this case, the harmless virus is used to package and deliver a gene from SARS-CoV-2, the strain of coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The gene therapy vaccine can’t replicate on its own but is potent enough to trigger a beneficial, antivirus response from the immune system.

Barry J. Byrne, M.D., Ph.D., a rare-disease researcher and pediatrician, has begun testing two vaccine candidates in animal models. Virology experts at UF’s Emerging Pathogens Institute expect to have initial results this month that will determine if the vaccines effectively trigger virus-neutralizing antibodies against the live SARS2 virus.

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