The application of a DNA-based vaccine to induce an immune response against SARS-CoV-2 is done via the introduction of a plasmid (a small circular DNA strand) into the cells that encode antigens. Once antigens are produced in the patient’s own cells, the body starts to produce antibodies to these antigens, thus creating immunity against the virus.
DNA-based vaccines have a number of advantages over other approaches. They are easy to produce on a large scale, don’t include infectious agents, and provide stimulation of many types of immune cells. However, the delivery of plasmids into the cells represented a scientific hurdle until very recently.
Entos Pharmaceuticals (Entos) is developing a genetic vaccine against COVID-19 using the non-toxic Fusogenix drug delivery system and optimized COVID-19 epitopes from key immunogenic SARS-CoV-2 proteins from EpiVax. The company is currently running animal studies, and it has announced that it will begin Phase 1 human clinical trials in July.