Doctors At University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: We've Developed a Vaccine Against Coronavirus

Ronald A. Fontana

In this photo taken on Jan. 6, 2011, and released by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) researcher Brian Hermann of the university’s Magee-Womens Research Institute processes a testicular tissue sample as part of a fertility preservation study in Pittsburgh. Researchers are preserving stem cells from the testicular tissue of boys diagnosed with cancer in the hopes that these cells will be used to restore fertility later. (AP Photo/UPMC, Ronald A. Fontana) NO SALES.

Doctors and researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have announced amazing news.

They are saying they’ve created a vaccine that can protect against developing COVID-19 and they want federal permission for human trials.

From Penn Live:

They said they began working on it Jan. 21 and found mice had developed antibodies against COVID-19 about two weeks after receiving the vaccine. They said they based the vaccine on work previously done at UPMC that sought to create vaccines to protect against SARS and MERS, which they said are similar to the new coronavirus.

Not only that the doctors say the vaccine is easily deliverable in large quantities.

They further said their vaccine is one that is easily scalable to produce in large quantities. It also includes a unique delivery method in which hundreds of tiny needles are in a patch similar to a Band-Aid, with the needles, made of sugar and protein particles, dissolving into the skin to deliver the vaccine.

From WPXI:

Researchers said viruses closely related to the new coronavirus show that spike proteins are important when it comes to inducing immunity. The potential vaccine works like the current flu vaccine in that it uses lab-made pieces of viral protein to build immunity.

The potential vaccine is being called PittCoVacc, short for Pittsburgh Coronavirus Vaccine.

The fingertip-sized patch increases the potency of the vaccine through the use of 400 tiny needles that deliver the spike protein pieces into the skin, where the immune reaction is strongest, officials said.

“It’s actually pretty painless. It feels kind of like Velcro,” said Louis Falo, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of dermatology at Pitt’s School of Medicine and UPMC.

The big question? How quickly can they be approved to do trials? Normally this is a process that can take 12-18 months but they obviously need expedited process in this case to do trials and get approval with all due speed.

The importance of this with the country and the world in the middle of a pandemic can’t be overstated.

One of the things we’ve seen is how the regulations of governmental agencies like the CDC and the FDA can hinder quicker action. But if there ever was a time for speed and adaptability to the situation, this would be it.