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New vaccine could protect against possible future coronaviruses

Researchers have developed a vaccine that has been shown in mice to protect against a broad range of coronaviruses with potential for future disease outbreaks.

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This is a new approach to vaccine development called ‘proactive vaccinology’, where scientists build a vaccine before the disease-causing pathogen even emerges.


The new vaccine works by training the body’s immune system to recognise specific regions of eight different coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-1, SARS-CoV-2, and several that are currently circulating in bats and have potential to jump to humans and cause a pandemic.


Key to its effectiveness is that the specific virus regions the vaccine targets also appear in many related coronaviruses. By training the immune system to attack these regions, it gives protection against other coronaviruses not represented in the vaccine, including ones that haven’t even been identified yet.


For example, the new vaccine does not include the SARS-CoV-1 coronavirus, which caused the 2003 SARS outbreak, yet it still induces an immune response to that virus.


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