Conroe - Montgomery Edition | June 2020

INSIDE INFORMATION

Health Care Edition 2020

A PATH TO PROTECTION

COMPILED BY BEN THOMPSON

As worldwide health care experts work to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus, one health care company in the Montgomery County area continues work on its own vaccine.

PRODUCING A VACCINE

The process of vaccine production can take 18 months or more, according to Dr. Maria Bottazzi, co-director of Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development.

The Woodlands company VGXI—a contract manufacturer for DNA plasmids—manufactured a DNA coronavirus vaccine for Inovio Pharmaceuticals company ocials said was in human trials this spring. The company will move its headquarters to Conroe’s Deison Technology Park in January 2022, according to a news release from the Conroe Economic Development Council.

The entity researching the vaccine must rst secure funding to proceed.

The researchers determine which part of a virus the vaccine should target and build a vaccine around the relevant protein.

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VGXI Inc. announced April 6 it had completed the manufacturing process for its COVID-19 DNA vaccine.

The product is sent into preclinical toxicology evaluations by a clinical research organization. They ensure the material is safe through animal models before obtaining approval to move trials to humans.

VGXI announced it was producing a vaccine for the new coronavirus in late January after it was selected by Inovio Pharmaceuticals as a production partner.

INSIDE THE BODY A vaccine creates immunity by preparing the body to attack a protein similar in structure to that of the virus.

$9 MILLION GRANT from the Oslo-based Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation.

Vaccines include a manufactured protein that mimics the viral protein.

Human studies on healthy adult volunteers begin to ensure safety and eectiveness.

Inovio ocials said the Investigational New Drug applica- tion for the vaccine had been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the rst phase of clinical testing began April 6. VGXI ocials said Inovio is also coordinating clinical trials in China and South Korea. Initial results from the clinical trial of up to 40 volunteers are expected by late summer, Inovio ocials said, with additional vaccine studies expected to continue alongside the clinical trial. VGXI ocials said thousands of vaccine doses were produced within two months. The company scheduled large-scale manufacturing of the vaccine in the second quarter this year, and Inovio ocials said the company plans to have 1 million doses available by the end of 2020 for further trials.

The immune system builds defenses to attack the protein in the vaccine.

The body then has an immune response ready for that same type of protein if encountered in the virus.

Regulatory approval includes a review of procedures, reproducibility and trial results.

Researchers are considering the coronavirus’ “spike” protein as the vaccine target to block the virus from interfering with a human cell.

Industrial entities start mass production.

SOURCE: DR. MARIA ELENA BOTTAZZI COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

SOURCE: VGXI INC.COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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