Sunday, September 19

The Spanish virologist Luis Enjuanes speaks: “Our vaccine will be intranasal, powerful and avoid virus transmission”

Monday, March 22, 2021 – 1:42 PM

Although drug agencies prefer intramuscular administration, their prototype opts for the intranasal route because the mucous membranes are the site of entry for the virus into the body.

Luis Enjuanes leads the research team

Luis Enjuanes leads the research team of the National Center for Biotechnology

The prototype of the vaccine against Sars-CoV-2 from the CSIC virologist Luis Enjuanes arrive later than others but will be one of the best on the market for several reasons: it is administered in a single dose intranasally and in addition to protecting against infection, prevent transmission of the virus to the rest of the population.

In an interview released by the CSIC, Enjuanes, who leads a research team of sixteen people at the National Center for Biotechnology (CNB), has detailed that the vaccine will be autoamplificable, which means that the dose of RNA that is injected could be multiplied up to 5,000 times inside the body.

In addition, although drug safety agencies prefer intramuscular administration, their prototype opts for the intranasal route because the mucous membranes are the site of entry of the virus into the body, and “If you immunize that area, the protection is greater,” he assures.

It recognizes that the vaccine will reach the market much later than others but I will do it “with everything updated” and to be prepared to face the mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 variants of the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil, and surely of some variant of the United States such as that of New York or California.

“In any case, if this continues, the vaccines will have to be updated every year, as happens with the influenza virus, depending on the variants that arise”, clarifies the CSIC virologist.

Right now, the serum is being tested in mice and hamsters and, if all goes well, they will rehearse on macaques. If there are no problems, the vaccine will be ready in the first half of 2022 and be safe and effective, he emphasizes.

“Takes time”

Enjuanes also explains that, although he would like the vaccine to be ready much earlier, it is a new model whose study “takes time”, and remember that the development of a vaccine takes between ten and fifteen years but that the pandemic has forced to accelerate the deadlines and multiply the resources.

The virologist is confident that by the end of the year they will reach the market two vaccines that are being developed in Spain: Mariano Esteban, from the National Center for Biotechnology, and Vicente Larraga, from the Margarita Salas Biological Research Center.

For now, the vaccines available from Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna are being administered – to which Janssen will soon join -, that “they are effective but not perfect” and that they will help to control the virus in a natural way when 70% of the population has been vaccinated, he says.

“Problem solved in two or three months”

“In two or three more months, we will solve the problem”, but “we cannot lower our guard”, he insists, because this virus is capable of attacking any organ of the body and infecting without causing symptoms, and “that combination is what makes it so deadly,” warns Enjuanes.

In addition, “Some people become infected and immediately become seriously ill, others become infected and are asymptomatic; There are some that induce many antibodies, compared to others that do not; There are people who, in addition to inducing many antibodies, last a long time, while in others they disappear in a few weeks. And there are people who get infected, get sick and recover while others are infected for 3, 4 or 5 months “, details Enjuanes.

The virologist predicts that in the coming years new epidemics “restricted to two, three or five countries” that will not become universal pandemics.

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