The AAVCOVID vaccine program, a novel gene-based vaccine strategy led by Luk Vandenberghe, PhD, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Grousbeck Gene Therapy Center at Mass Eye and Ear, that utilizes an adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector, was granted an award of $2.1 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This grant will aid the effort to bring further preclinical validation to the AAV vaccine platform.
In data released in preprint, two AAVCOVID vaccine candidates led to robust neutralizing antibody responses in mouse and nonhuman primate models from only a single dose. The candidates were also shown to be safe and well-tolerated in both models. The single-dose vaccine, which can be stored at room temperature for up to one month, is set to enter phase I clinical trials in 2021.