Coronavirus might end with a newly proposed treatment

A recent trial for a possible treatment for the coronavirus infection has hinted towards hopeful results with DNA vaccine.
Since the coronavirus outbreak in November 2019, the number of effected patients has continuously been increasing. Numerous scientists and research groups are working to develop an effective vaccine and find a possible treatment. However, until now there has been no fruitful outcome. Some speculate that a vaccine would be ready in a few months. However, other reports state that the teams are not even close to developing a cure.
A recent vaccine trial has shown some progress in finding a treatment. It has proposed the use of DNA vaccines as a possible solution to end this crisis altogether.
Currently, a large number of doctors are employing convalescent plasma therapy. Recovered coronavirus patients are plasma donors. Doctors then inject this plasma in critical patients to improve their immunity. Since it contains appropriate antibodies to ward of the disease, the process has shown some positive results.
However, it is to note that the technique is not very efficient. Finding a matching blood group can sometimes pose a serious problem. Therefore, the search for the universal solution is still going on.

Clinical Trial

Published in the journal, Science, on 20th May, a study by students from Harvard Medical School in Boston, has shown positive results from DNA vaccine testing on monkeys.
By injecting genetically modified plasmids into the blood stream, DNA vaccine can treat infections. The plasmids contain an antigen sequence that trigger an immune response. This allows for the body to make appropriate antibodies.
In the trial, the research team produced six distinct DNA plasmids – or DNA vaccines, with an antigen – a spike protein, of the SARS-CoV-2. The theory behind the process was to trigger an immune response and study the antibodies produced as a result.
Researchers injected different variations of the plasmids in 35 monkeys – rhesus macaques. They were further infected with coronavirus o see which iteration produced the optimal results. Results showed that one of the six – the one with the complete encoding of the spike protein – was significantly more effective than the rest.
Numerous blood tests showed that despite the symptoms, that matched those of the coronavirus, the monkeys did develop numerous new antibodies that were not present before. When studied in detail, the immune response proved to be similar to that of the human coronavirus patients who have recovered.
The study also showed that unvaccinated monkeys had more virus molecules in their system as compared to the vaccinated ones – hinting towards a more active immune response in the latter.


Researchers have not carried out the trail on humans; however, they believe that it can prove to be a vital step towards finding a cure. Using DNA vaccines that encode the full sequence of the spike protein might trigger a similar response in the human counterparts as well.
However, this was just a basic level trial. It requires further research to see if the results were not accidental. Moreover, durability of the vaccine and effectiveness of the antibodies is still not confirmed and hence, needs more testing.
Mariyam Tanveer: