Chinese Team discovered that Coronavirus Beta is a Universal Vaccine Strategy

Chinese Gaofu Team discovered that Coronavirus beta is a universal Vaccine Strategy

News from the Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Gao Fu, Yan Jinghua, Chinese Academy of Sciences, fitness and health experts' opinions, etc. have made important progress in the field of β-coronavirus vaccine research.” The research results were posted on CELL on June 28 in advance online release.


One more thing, Academician Gao Fu joined CELL’s Academic Advisory Committee this year. There are now 119 members on the committee, of which only 7 are Chinese.


About this paper is super long, it has 47 pages. At the end, we may be already in the state of three questions in life (who am I and what do I do), just when we are worried about how to summarize the main points of this paper. At that time, we saw Highlights and In Brief at the end of the paper, so we may happily move them.


There are 4 main points worth noting in the Chinese Team Coronavirus Vaccine Strategy paper:

  1. The dimeric form of MERS-CoV RBD is highly immunogenic and protective in mice
  2. RBD-dimer structure guides tandem repeat to further design homodimer
  3. This strategy can be promoted to design beta-CoV vaccines against COVID-19 and SARS
  4. CoV RBD-dimer immunogen can be produced in high yield in pilot scale production

Simply put:

The research team proposed a structural guidance design for a coronavirus immunogen. The coronavirus immunogen consists of two protein subunits. Each protein subunit contains a viral spike receptor binding domain fused together by disulfide bonds. α1. 

The immunogen causes strong immunogenicity in mice and protects them from virus attack. Vaccine design strategies can be universally applied to SARS, MERS, COVID-19 and other CoV vaccines to deal with emerging threats.


Then we take a look at the content of the paper itself.


The research content, as I described in the title, is a general vaccine strategy for the entire coronavirus β genus, not a general vaccine like some media reports. There is no way that we can prevent SARS with a single vaccine technique, prevent MERS and prevent the new crown, at least not yet.


Infographics on Coronavirus Beta is a Universal Vaccine Strategy

SARS, MERS, and SARS-COV-2 are three viruses of the same genus belonging to the β genus of the Coronaviridae family. 

They have many similarities, such as S protein, which is the key protein for virus invasion. 

At the same time, the S protein has a key binding site (RBD binding domain) and so on.


At present, most of the vaccines we have developed against the new coronavirus are aimed at the RBD binding domain of the S protein, and the neutralizing antibody produced by this has a significant effect. 

But it is not without problems:

  1. RBD has a small molecular weight and limited immunogenicity
  2. Second, drug resistance mutations may appear to cause vaccine failure


The Gaofu team has been developing vaccines against the MERS virus before, and also against the RBD binding domain of the S protein. 

In order to solve the problems that may be encountered by traditional RBD vaccines, they proposed a new RBD antigen method, which is a disulfide bond. 

The linked RBD dimer, compared with the traditional monomer form, can induce higher neutralizing antibodies.


At the same time, this method can not only be used on MERS, but also on SARS and the new coronavirus. It can effectively increase the antigenicity of the vaccine, that is, increase the concentration of neutralizing antibodies.


They tested the new vaccine on mice and found that they obtained a higher concentration of neutralizing antibodies. At the same time, they passed the virus attack test. This vaccine can effectively protect the mice from the MERS virus.


This concept is also used in the development of new crown vaccines. The recombinant protein vaccine that was clinically tested at Beijing Chaoyang Hospital on the 23rd of this month is a vaccine developed by the Institute of Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences using this method. 

This vaccine has been tested in animal experiments in mice and rhesus monkeys, significantly reducing the viral load of lung tissue, reducing lung damage caused by viral infections, and having obvious protective effects.


At the same time, according to the data described in the paper, the new coronavirus vaccine using this technology has a 10-100-fold increase in the concentration of neutralizing antibody (NAb). 

This is definitely an exciting number. I am now increasingly looking forward to the clinical results of the vaccine.


We generalized this strategy to design vaccines against COVID-19 and SARS, achieving 10-100-fold enhancement of NAb titers.

By the way, we may extend a discussion.

Is it possible to develop a vaccine for the entire β virus? 

Mostly, it’s difficult, but it’s not impossible. There have been papers on the discovery of antibodies that work against both SARS and the new coronavirus. 

On the other hand, there may be an antigen that can work on both viruses at the same time. However, the sequence and structure of MERS are a bit far from SARS and the new crown. 

I am not sure whether the corresponding collection antigen can be found. Maybe a laboratory suddenly found a black technology.



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