Pharmacy Professor Develops New Virus-Like Particle Platform for Vaccine Delivery | Where is

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KINGSTON – A professor at URI College of Pharmacy has developed a new virus-like particle platform to deliver vaccines to the body safely and more efficiently, a next step in the potential development of a universal influenza vaccine and of a new vaccine against the coronavirus.

Dr. Xinyuan Chen recently received a $ 200,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue research on his new vaccine platform and develop new vaccines using the safest delivery method. The platform includes the use of flagellin, a natural protein used as a carrier for vaccines, and which is also an agonist that stimulates an immune response. Flagellin can sometimes overstimulate the immune system, but Chen found that by applying flagellin to the surface of the viral particle, the body’s immune system responds more strongly to the vaccine without being overstimulated.

“Our human body has a mechanism for recognizing pathogens. By developing the vaccine with virus-like particles, our bodies can respond more strongly to this type of vaccine, ”Chen said. “Virus-like particles don’t replicate inside the body, so they’re very safe. If you introduce the virus, it could potentially revert to its infectious status, possibly in the immunocompromised population. The virus-like particle is therefore a highly immunogenic and safe vaccine platform. “

Chen has a patent pending for the new vaccine platform, which his lab will use in an attempt to develop a universal influenza vaccine that would protect against multiple strains of influenza, instead of the individual strains that the annual vaccine currently protects against.

“The universal influenza vaccine is a concept that would allow us to protect multiple strains of the virus,” Chen said. “Proteins are the functional building blocks of our cells. When the virus mutates, not all parts of the protein mutate. We therefore found that some regions of the protein are highly conserved; they don’t change from year to year. Thus, from this conserved region, we are potentially able to develop a universal vaccine. “


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