McMaster University''s physicists, chemists, and immunologists have combined to transform red blood cells to transport viral agents that can safely trigger the immune system to prevent SARS-CoV-2, resulting in a promising new approach for vaccination delivery.
As the coronavirus continues to develop and mutate, the researchers believe developing new strategies and vaccination methods is crucial for controlling the pandemic and preparing for future outbreaks.
The new concept, described in the journalPLOS ONE, is an entirely new approach to immunization. Red blood-cell membranes are embedded with SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins, which then form viral-like particles.
We treat red blood cells and remove everything from the inside. We then attach spike proteins to their sides to simulate a coronavirus, according to Isabella Passos, a graduate student on the paper.
The particles, which are shown to activate the immune system and produce antibodies in mice, are completely harmless.
Current vaccination delivery methods can result in severe immune system reactions, according to Maikel Rheinstadter, a senior supervisor on the paper and a professor at McMaster''s Department of Physics & Astronomy.
Several vaccines that have been developed have shown side effects. This delivery platform opens new possibilities for vaccines and therapeutics.
These researchers found that cells can be loaded with a large amount of viral proteins, although they might produce little side effects, making the new technique more tolerable and effective than other vaccination options.
Without the use of genetic material, we have developed a technique in which we can initiate an immune response, yet we are still capable of synthesize these particles in a very short time, according to Sebastian Himbert, the author of the study and a recently graduate student in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at McMaster.
The invention can be quickly adapted to develop vaccines for new viruses or variants that may arise in the future.
McMaster''s creative, interdisciplinary research is characterized by. It was exhilarating working with physicists, structural biologists, and immunologists to develop a totally different vaccine platform, according to Dawn Bowdish, the professor of medicine at McMaster and Canada''s Research Chair in Aging & Immunity and co-author.
Researchers released this technique in 2020, when they altered red blood cells to distribute drugs throughout the body, which might then target infections or treat catastrophic illnesses such as cancer or Alzheimers.
explains Rheinstadter. In this case, this platform is a vaccination.
We use our own cells more than nano robots inside of our bodies, and when they see a disease, they may combat it.