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UMCG to study potential coronavirus vaccine: volunteers sought

18 March 2021

The UMCG is going to study a potential COVID-19 vaccine: the AKS-452 vaccine produced by Akston Biosciences in the United States.

The goal of the study is to research the safety and tolerability of and the reaction of the immune system to the vaccine. For the study, the UMCG is looking for 176 healthy volunteers aged between 18 and 65 who are willing to be vaccinated with the potential vaccine.

How does the vaccine work?

The Akston Biosciences vaccine is a ‘recombinant subunit vaccine’. In this type of vaccine, the actual coronavirus (weakened or alive) is not used. The vaccine is made from a particle of the virus, the spike protein, which is fused with a protein fragment from a human antibody. The vaccine is contained in a liquid or adjuvant that strengthens the immune response.

The human body recognizes that the spike protein belongs to the coronavirus and initiates a defence mechanism, through which antibodies and T cells are produced. Through this technique, a natural reaction against viral infection is imitated and the body’s immune system is activated. The advantage of this type of vaccine is that it does not contain any genetic material of the virus and it is therefore impossible for the virus to multiply in the body.

The vaccine has already been extensively tested in animal models for COVID-19 infections, in which it appears to be effective and safe. The next phase is to research the safety and tolerability of and the reaction of the immune system to the vaccine in humans.

Volunteers sought

The UMCG is looking for 176 healthy volunteers, aged above 18 and below 65, who have not yet been infected with SARS-CoV-2 or received another potential or established coronavirus vaccine. The research participants will receive either one or two doses of the potential vaccine to establish the dosage needed to achieve a sufficient number of antibodies. Participants will still be able to receive another coronavirus vaccine at a later stage.

More information about the study and the opportunity to participate can be found on the
UMCG website .

About Akston Biosciences

Akston Biosciences is located in Beverly, Massachusetts and is specialized in the development of new fusion proteins to develop and produce new biological treatments for the prevention of type 1 diabetes, for long-acting insulin treatment and for vaccines. The AKS-452 vaccine is based on this technique, which uses the conventional production techniques of antibodies. More information can be found at www.akstonbio.com .

Last modified:24 March 2021 11.11 a.m.
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