New COVID-19 Vaccine Targeting Both B and T Cells

October 16, 2020

Covaxx has developed its investigational vaccine and is currently in a phase 1/2 trial.

While it typically takes several years for a vaccine to be developed and approved, Covaxx Co-CEO Mei Mei Hu says with the rise of COVID-19, the pace of development has sped up tremendously.

Hu has worked in the past on animal vaccines and oversaw the launch of one of the first endobody vaccines in the world.

Her current company, Covaxx, is a Hauppauge, NY-based spinout of the UBI group of companies founded in 1985. UBI and its healthcare subsidiaries have been involved in antibody diagnostics and vaccine development and manufacturing for chronic and infectious diseases for more than 30 years.

They have developed a unique platform using a multi-antigen peptide approach to create their investigational COVID-19 vaccine, UB-612. With it, this becomes the first multitope peptide-based vaccine activating both B and T cells.

UB-612 has shown immunogenicity and a robust antibody response. During in vitro testing, antibodies have bound the target COVID-19 spike protein antigen, blocked binding to the hACE2 receptor, and neutralized the virus from replication.

Previously, the platform has been used to develop a vaccine for hand, foot and mouth disease, and was shown to be safe and well tolerated in 4 human clinical trials.

For UB-612, Covaxx began a phase 1 study in Taiwan back in August, and is planning a phase 1/2 study in the US this fall.

Hu spoke to Contagion® about vaccine safety, provided some insider insights about vaccine development and manufacturing, and discussed their COVID-19 investigational vaccine.