The biopharmaceutical industry successfully and rapidly rose to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, delivering highly effective vaccines in record time.
However, by the summer of 2021, many experts concluded that the COVID crisis is likely to be endemic to many regions around the world, requiring ongoing management and responsiveness. As a result, numerous unmet vaccination needs remain:
- Capability and capacity to address SARS-CoV-2 variants for years to come
- Robust durability via generation of memory T cells
- Removing global barriers to access, including the high costs of many of the first-generation vaccines and cold-chain logistical challenges
- “Fear of the needle” and other patient hesitancy
It is within this context that we initiated work on vaccine designs that might overcome some of the challenges associated with the first-generation vaccines that target only the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. In particular, we seek to design and develop a second-gen vaccine that addresses the current Durability, Access, and Variant-inclusion [DAVi] challenges we still face.