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New coronavirus vaccine shows promise against known and unknown strains

Researchers from Oxford, Cambridge, and Caltech have unveiled a groundbreaking coronavirus vaccine designed not only to combat existing coronaviruses but also to provide protection against potential future ones. This proactive vaccine strategy could revolutionize pandemic preparedness by targeting common features of a wide range of coronaviruses, including COVID-19, SARS, and MERS.

The innovative vaccine utilizes a “quartet nanocage,” a small protein structure modified with “protein superglue” and specific viral components. This design trains the immune system to recognize and fight off multiple coronaviruses with a single dose, potentially including those yet to be discovered.

While currently tested only in mice, initial results are promising, demonstrating the immune system’s ability to recognize eight different coronaviruses. Rory Hills, a graduate researcher at the University of Cambridge and first author of the report, emphasized the vaccine’s broad protective potential, even against unknown coronaviruses.

Published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, the study highlights the urgency of proactive vaccine development. Professor Mark Howarth, senior author of the report, stressed the importance of building protective vaccines in advance, leveraging existing knowledge about coronaviruses and immune responses to preemptively address future outbreaks.

With the success of this novel vaccine approach, researchers aim to bolster global pandemic preparedness and minimize the impact of future coronavirus threats.

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