UK researcher ‘optimistic’ about COVID-19 vaccine candidate tested in lab

Posted at 7:56 PM, Aug 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-13 19:56:16-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A COVID-19 vaccine candidate tested at the University of Kentucky is yielding positive results, according to researchers.

PDS Biotech developed the vaccine candidate using Versamune, a component used in cancer vaccine trials because of its T cell activating quality.

UK researcher Jerry Woodward explained the vaccine candidate PDS0203 stands out because it activates both COVID-19 fighting antibodies and T cells.

“An optimum response for a vaccine would be to induce antibodies and hopefully prevent viral infection from ever occurring, but sometimes viral infection can still occur. If the vaccinated person now has T-cells, that viral infection can be very much limited so it’s not very serious,” said Woodward.

PDS0203 has successfully triggered antibody and T cell production in mice, according to Woodward.

“I think there’s a lot of reason to be optimistic the vaccine is going to be successful,” said Woodward.

The findings have been submitted to a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Woodward said the next step in the process is for the FDA to conduct a phase 1 safety and immunogenicity clinical trial in humans.

“Even though we’re making good progress, it’s still going to take some time. I keep telling everyone that in the meantime we need to really focus on shutting things down as much as possible, social distancing and mask-wearing so we can at least keep the level of the pandemic at a low level,” said Woodward.