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Inactivated PiCoVacc vaccine found effective in animal study

Date: 12 May 2020 Tags: Biotechnology


Inactivated novel coronavirus vaccine (PiCoVacc) tested on mice, rats and rhesus macaques was found to be safe and to provide partial to complete protection in rhesus macaques depending on the dosage tested.



The vaccine is currently undergoing human clinical trials. In April, the company commenced phase-1 trial on 144 healthy adults aged 18-59 years.



  • For the animal trial, four different doses of the vaccine mixed with an adjuvant were administered on days zero and seven. The control group was administered a sham vaccine.

  • Researchers note that the vaccine was able to quickly induce RBD-specific immunoglobulin G (Ig G) in vaccinated mice.

  • About half of spike protein-induced antibody response came from RBD-specific IgG, suggesting RBD is the dominant immunogen.

  • Incidentally, RBD-specific IgG was found to be the dominant immunogen in the blood of recovered COVID-19 patients. Similar results were seen in Wistar rats too.

  • Four monkeys were administered either a medium or high dose of the vaccine on day zero, seven and 14. S-specific IgG and neutralising antibodies were produced during the second week after vaccination in monkeys that received medium and high dose.

  • On day 21 after the first dose of the vaccine, the monkeys were exposed to coronavirus given through intratracheal route.

  • While the controls had a huge viral load from the day of challenge and even developed severe pneumonia, the vaccinated animals were largely protected. Viral loads decreased significantly in all vaccinated macaques.

  • Compared with the controls, the vaccinated monkeys did not develop fever or weight loss. Blood parameters too remained normal and histopathological evaluations of various organs, including lung, heart, spleen, liver, kidney and brain did not show any pathology.