Swiss medical researchers launched an early-stage study on January 10 to begin testing a “next-generation” COVID-19 vaccine candidate which would be administered via micro-needles in an arm patch that are less than one millimetre deep.
Unlike conventional vaccines that stimulate antibody production, the new PepGNP-Covid19 vaccine candidate focuses on T-cells, which are responsible for cellular immunity, to eliminate cells infected by SARS-CoV-2 and prevent the virus from replicating.
Professor Blaise Genton, head of the study, said this cellular immunity generates so-called “memory cells,” which could make the vaccine more durable and better than others at protecting against variants of SARS-CoV-2.
The researchers hope it will provide long-term immunity and do away with the need for seasonal COVID-19 booster shots.
“With this new vaccine that generates this cellular immunity we hope to have a longer period of protection … we don’t know yet, but it could be one year, two years, three years,” Genton said.