Many know Mass. Eye and Ear as a pioneer in gene therapy and gene editing to combat inherited blindness and deafness. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mass. Eye and Ear has directed this unique expertise into developing an experimental genetic vaccine to create immunity against the novel coronavirus.
Leading the vaccine development effort is Luk Vandenberghe, PhD, a virologist who is a world expert in using a harmless virus called AAV (adeno-associated virus) to carry genetic instructions into the body. In the case of the AAVCOVID vaccine, AAV tells the body to be on alert for coronavirus and build up an antibody defense. The particular strain of AAV was developed by Dr. Vandenberghe 12 years ago and is ideally suited for a vaccine.
This vaccine effort is different than the other experimental vaccines you may have read about. While those efforts are also genetic vaccine approaches, they do not use AAV which has distinct advantages including a 25+ year safety track record and a multi-billion dollar AAV industry ready to manufacture large doses of the vaccine if it proves to be successful. When we compare speed of development, potency, safety, cost, and scalability, AAV measures up exceptionally well against the other vaccines in development.
Mass. Eye and Ear is partnering with Mass General Hospital in an effort led by Mason Freeman, MD to conduct clinical trials of the vaccine in people later this year. Many vaccines will be needed to protect the entire population. With so many lives at stake, it is a race against time, and we need several vaccines to succeed.
You can help make this vaccine a reality. Your gift will makes a difference. Thank you.
Read more about the work here - https://www.masseyeandear.org/covid-19/vaccine