NEW YORK – Austrian biopharma firm Viravaxx said on Tuesday that it is collaborating with the Medical University of Vienna to create a platform for diagnostic and vaccine research into COVID-19.
The collaborators will use a protein microarray comprising the proteome of SARS-CoV-2 to enable high resolution identification of viral antigens that elicit an immune response. Additionally, they are developing an ELISA that will allow them to investigate whether sera from recovered COVID-19 patients are able to neutralize the virus and to map viral epitopes.
The parties plan to use this data to aid the design of vaccine candidates using Viravaxx's peptide-carrier-fusion platform. They will also use the combined microarray and ELISA platforms to study the response to these candidate vaccines in animal models.
"In the current devastating COVID-19-pandemic, two major demands are on everybody’s mind," Rainer Henning, Viravaxx's CEO, said in a statement. "First, there is an urgent need for serological assays which effectively identify protective immunity, so that already-immune people can get back to work and social interactions … Second, a potent vaccine is required, which reliably confers lasting immunity, so that vaccinated people will be protected from future waves of SARS-CoV-2-infections. We at Viravaxx work to answer these demands with our integrated platform."