Indian American scientists working on COVID vaccine using bovine adenovirus

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Suresh Mittal, Distinguished Professor of Virology, Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine. Photo: vet.purdue.edu

A team of researchers led by virologist Suresh Mittal from Purdue University is working on a COVID-19 vaccine that uses a bovine adenovirus which researchers hope will protect all segments of the population, especially older adults.

Bovine Adenovirus, also known as BAdV, is a member of the Adenoviridae family that causes disease in cattle.

Mittal is collaborating on the research with Dr. Suresh Kuchipudi, clinical professor and associate director of the Animal Diagnostic Lab at Pennsylvania State University; and Dr. Suryaprakash Sambhara, Immunology Laboratory team lead at the Influenza Division of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The research has received a major boost in the form of a five-year, $3.86 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, according to Purdue’s newsletter.

Suresh Kuchipudi, Clinical Professor and Associate Director, Penn State College of Agricultural Science. Photo: vbs.psu.edu

“The COVID-19 vaccine needs to be highly immunogenic because the human immune system does not have an immune memory against this new virus,” Mittal is quoted saying in the news report. “This platform-based vaccine expresses the important SARS-CoV-2 immunogens that produce an immune response. This type of COVID-19 vaccine provides a balanced antibody and cell-based protection.”

At present, there are at least three adenovirus-based COVID-19 vaccines in Phase 2 or 3 clinical trials. More than 160 COVID-19 vaccines are at various stages of development, Mittal added.

In the Pennsylvania State University newsletter, Kuchipudi stated, “Adenoviral vectors have emerged as a promising gene-delivery platform for a variety of therapeutic and vaccine purposes during the last two decades. But using a delivery system based on an animal adenovirus means that the human population will have no preexisting immunity to the vector, thereby improving its effectiveness.”

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