Italy may be ahead in the race to develop the first coronavirus vaccine. Tests carried out at Rome's Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases show that a potential vaccine has generated antibodies in mice which work on human cells too.
According to a report in Science Times, it was found that the vaccine neutralised the novel coronavirus in human cells. Luigi Aurisicchio, CEO of Takis, which is the firm developing the medication, has said that this is a first since the race for a Covid-19 vaccine began in the world.
This is the most advanced stage of testing of a potential vaccine in the country, Aurisicchio was reported as telling Italian news agency ANSA. He said human tests could begin in summer.
He also said that his firm was exploring options with an an American drug company, LineaRx, as well.
However, for the vaccine to come to fruition, Takis' efforts require support from the Italian government, and partnerships with international bodies.
"This is not a competition. If we join our forces and skills together, we can all win against coronavirus," Aurisicchio said in the report.
So what is the progress in the vaccine? The report states that after the Italian scientists injected the mice with the vaccine, they developed antibodies that block Covid-19 from infecting human cells.
Two out of five vaccine candidates were chosen after observation.
Now, the scientists will be trying to gauge the longevity of the immunity response.
All of the vaccine candidates under Italian study are being developed on the basis of genetic material of DNA protein, also called a spike, Science Times reports.
The vaccine employs a technique called electroporation to help these break into the cells and activate the immune system.
According to researchers, this adds to the vaccine's effectiveness; for generating functional antibodies against "spike" protein in lung cells. Lung cells have been most vulnerable to the coronavirus.
The scientists are now awaiting better test results on the next trial. Dr. Emanuele Marra from Takis said that the vaccines could also adapt to any future mutations of the virus.