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Viral Disease


The Next Generation in Vaccine Development

Generating Robust T cell Responses

Based on our work with glioblastoma, we have developed a novel SARS-CoV-2 T cell vaccine, referred to as the COVID-19 ATAK™ myeloid

cell vaccine.

Historically prophylactic viral vaccines against viral infections have concentrated on the stimulation of neutralizing antibodies. Some highly efficacious antibody based vaccines exist. However, many others have failed to induce long-term efficacy and protection against a number of viral infections. Studies provide evidence that effective prophylactic vaccines against complex viruses such as Coronavirus, West Nile Virus, Zika Virus, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) and herpes viruses must elicit a strong T cell immunity response. This has boosted research in this area, however,  this has not resulted in many vaccines capable of inducing sterilizing immunity. There is a need for novel approaches to generating T cell immunity. In collaboration with Duke University, Myeloid Therapeutics has developed the ATAK™ myeloid cell vaccine platform.

COVID-19 ATAK™ myeloid cell vaccine

The current COVID-19 landscape has observed the emergence of vaccines that focus on the generation of neutralizing antibodies.  While these efforts are justified, prior studies of SARS-CoV-1 and MERS strongly support testing of alternative strategies capable of eliciting SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell responses.  It has been shown that T cell immunity is protective for SARS-CoV and plays an important role in recovery from infection.  Suboptimal T cell responses also contribute to the development of severe SARS in animal models, which may explain the high mortality of SARS-CoV-2 in the elderly.  In SARS-CoV, cellular immunity may also offer longer protection than antibodies.  In patients who have recovered from SARS-CoV infection, anti-viral antibodies are often undetectable, whereas memory T cells have been shown to persist for up to 6 years. In addition, it is possible that the induction of anti-SARS-CoV-2 Abs will increase disease severity.  Multiple studies have suggested that Antibody Dependent Enhancement (ADE) of coronavirus infections occur and, in SARS-CoV/macaque models, anti-S protein IgG has been shown to exacerbate Acute Lung Injury (ALI). For these reasons, it has been suggested that vaccines against emerging coronaviruses should emphasize the generation of a memory CD8+ T cell response. Based on our work with glioblastoma,  we have developed a novel SARS-CoV-2 T cell vaccine, referred to as the COVID-19 ATAK™ myeloid cell vaccine.

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