UAB: Altimmune’s Intranasal COVID Vaccine Candidate Shows Sterilizing Immunity in Preclinical Tests

University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers report additional preclinical evidence of the potency of a single-dose, intranasal COVID-19 vaccine candidate – AdCOVID – that was created by Altimmune Inc., a Maryland-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company.

The UAB researchers, led by Fran Lund, in collaboration with Altimmune, have found that a single intranasal dose provided sterilizing immunity in the lungs of vaccinated animals. In contrast, the lungs of nonvaccinated animals showed dense pulmonary infection and disease following infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

“In the current study,” said Scot Roberts, chief scientific officer at Altimmune, “we found a heavy burden of infectious SARS-CoV-2 virus in the lungs of nonvaccinated mice following challenge with the virus. Importantly, no infectious virus could be detected in the lungs of AdCOVID-vaccinated animals. These data suggest that a single intranasal vaccination with AdCOVID can provide sterilizing immunity that neutralizes infectious virus, which is believed to be the best way to block viral transmission.

“Blocking transmission is critical for preventing spread of the virus and preventing the emergence of new variants of concern, both of which have the potential to prolong the pandemic,” Roberts said.

AdCOVID is in a Phase 1 clinical trial to test safety and immunogenicity in people. Altimmune expects to report topline data in June.

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