Pfizer, Moderna running a trial to develop COVID-19 vaccines

Written by Laura Mack, CNN Pfizer and Moderna Therapeutics are conducting a clinical trial to determine the safety and efficacy of bringing an immune boost from one drug to a second to keep a…

Pfizer, Moderna running a trial to develop COVID-19 vaccines

Written by Laura Mack, CNN

Pfizer and Moderna Therapeutics are conducting a clinical trial to determine the safety and efficacy of bringing an immune boost from one drug to a second to keep a patient’s immune system strong against newly developing and existing COVID-19 strains.

Researchers at Tarrytown, New York’s Weill Cornell Medicine and New York University’s School of Medicine tested a potency-boosting vaccine that used the immune system’s own white blood cells, according to a news release from Pfizer.

The white blood cells were first studied in the laboratory by researchers at Tarrytown, in the lab, for their ability to create “humanized microglia” — immune cells that can mimic the structure of the membrane of a healthy human cell.

Researchers looked at its ability to increase function of microglia by increasing the function of their proteins.

The enhanced microglia, in turn, improved the effectiveness of the first vaccination, creating antibodies more effective against COVID-19 strains, the news release said.

Also known as cyclin-dependent kinase-19, COVID-19 is primarily found in the lung and bloodstream. When the infection occurs, it releases fat- and proteins that increase platelet and immune cell count. That can make an uninfected person less likely to recover.

Researchers also found that these microglia changed cellular activation modes of COVID-19 and significantly increased antibody expression. The more the microglia evolved to be able to recognize COVID-19, the more they were able to create protective antibodies.

“The potential power of this approach, in combination with our future development of a COVID-19 inhibitor, could lead to better and more targeted vaccine design and the development of more effective, longer-lasting vaccines,” said Dmitri K. Katkov, Pfizer vice president of global medical development.

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