Vaccine Research


Vaccine Research

In humans, coronaviruses can cause serious lower respiratory tract infections, (e.g., bronchitis, pneumonia, or a severe respiratory illness) such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), or coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) along with other serious systemic complications or mild upper respiratory tract infections akin to common cold or the flu. 

CVD has a successful track record of developing and advancing recombinant protein-based vaccines against coronaviruses, SARS and most recently COVID-19.The team leveraged its extensive previous expertise in generating vaccines using a traditional recombinant-based approach to forge new strategic global alliances and accelerate the design, process, and evaluation of an affordable, safe, effective, and globally accessible vaccine against COVID-19.

1st Generation Coronavirus Vaccine (SARS and MERS vaccines)

  • In 2011, CVD embarked on efforts to develop vaccines against coronaviruses, becoming one of the first major groups to recognize the potential pandemic threat of coronaviruses.  Our coronavirus vaccine development program was initiated with support from the NIAID/NIH and in partnership with the New York Blood Center (NYBC), the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB), Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) and Immune Design, a therapeutic vaccine product development company, to develop two recombinant subunit vaccines to protect against the coronaviruses that caused SARS and MERS outbreaks.
  • We found that a deglycosylated variant, RBD219-N1 exhibited high expression yield, and maintained the antigenicity and functionality of the wild-type protein. More importantly, it induced significantly stronger RBD-specific antibody responses and a higher level of neutralizing antibodies in immunized mice than the wild-type.
  • Recently, this vaccine candidate was technology- transferred to Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) for cGMP manufacturing. A batch of clinical-grade vaccine was generated and is currently undergoing clinical trials. 
  • We also forged an alliance with Seattle-based non-profit, PATH, to shape a regulatory and global access strategy for the vaccine program. PATH previously led the development and introduction of the meningococcal A and malaria vaccines for Africa.
  • We continue to develop vaccines against SARS and MERS coronaviruses, so we can be ready in case these infections re-emerge and also because such research would likely inform the development of countermeasures against other highly pathogenic COVID-19 variants or other coronaviruses that could emerge in human populations in the future. 

Selected Publications