Shimane Univ., other researchers develop bio-based COVID-19 vaccine

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prof. Takeshi Urano explains about the newly developed vaccine in Izumo, Shimane Prefecture.

MATSUE — The Faculty of Medicine at Shimane University has developed a new COVID-19 vaccine using bio-based materials in joint research with Asahi Kasei Corp. and other universities, it was announced Saturday.

The school said the possibility of side effects from the use of this vaccine is extremely low, adding that it aims to put it into practical use in 2025 or thereafter.

The vaccine was developed by Prof. Takeshi Urano of Shimane University Faculty of Medicine and a group of researchers from Asahi Kasei, Kyoto University, Mie University and Nagasaki University.

According to Shimane University, the vaccine utilizes hyaluronic acid nanogel, a pharmaceutical additive made from a material that also exists in living systems. The additive is mixed with a portion of the spike protein on the surface of the virus and administered to the body to create immunity against the virus.

The university said the new vaccine has a high ability to send antigens to immune cells and is expected to ensure safe inoculation for children. It also says that it is effective even when it is in powder form, and there is a possibility that it can be transported without keeping it at a low temperature.

On Thursday, the university applied for a patent on the vaccine. It said the vaccine can also be used for other infectious diseases.

“We’ll utilize our research not only for the novel coronavirus but also for emerging infectious diseases,” Urano said.