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COVID-19: Omicron-specific vaccine designed in Italy

Takis says pre-clinical tests could start within weeks

(ANSA) - ROME, NOV 29 - A Rome-based medicines company, Takis , said Monday that it has designed a version of its Covid-eVax vaccine specifically to combat the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
    It said this version of the vaccine, developed with another Italian company, Rottapharm Biotech, would be ready for pre-clinical tests within weeks while stressing that funding would be needed to move further forward.
    Unlike other vaccines based on mRNA or on adenoviral vectors, the Covid-eVax vaccine is based on an innovative system that uses the "electroporation" of DNA.
    "As we seek to defeat the pandemic, it is imperative to be proactive while the virus evolves," Luigi Aurisicchio, the CEO and scientific director of Takis, said in a statement.
    "In recent months, we have generated almost in real time modifications of COVID-eVax against the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and many other variants, demonstrating their immunogenicity in animal models.
    "Unlike the previous variants, Omicron has a high number of new mutations and it is difficult to predict whether the current vaccines are still protective: for this reason we are moving as fast as possible to adapt our vaccine also against this variant.
    "Thanks to what we have learned since the beginning of the pandemic, we designed the COVID-eVax vaccine - Omicron version - in a few hours and in a few weeks we will be able to test it in preclinical models.
    "The fact remains that the lack of funding currently prevents us from continuing clinical trials to carry out the development of this Italian vaccine". (ANSA).


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