Trials have begun for a coronavirus vaccine in Temesvár on Wednesday that the company says could be available to the public by autumn this year.
“The creation of the anti-viral vaccine was successful on Tuesday, and so the testing process is about to begin today,” announced the Cell and Gene Therapies Center for Cancer Treatment (OncoGen) on their Facebook page.
According to OncoGen, 1,000 doses of the vaccine have already been produced but these are only available for lab testing at the present time.
The theoretical groundwork for the vaccine was laid out by the OncoGen team, led by University Professor Dr. Virgil Păunescu, who serves as the vice-president of the Academy of Medical Sciences in Romania.
Together with three other researchers, they published a study entitled “Design of an Epitope-Based Synthetic Long Peptide Vaccine to Counteract the Novel China Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)” on Feb. 6, which even caused a minor diplomatic dispute in the scientific community.
A few days after their article was published, a Chinese team published one almost identical to the letter, which prompted OncoGen to complain at the embassy of China in Bucharest.
As for the vaccine itself, Păunescu said their development protocol was different from other vaccine-making procedures and does not require testing on animals prior to human trials. This means that after the current laboratory tests, human trials can begin in three to four weeks and the product could be generally available by autumn.
According to Romanian medical news portal 360medical.ro, OncoGen, part of the Pius Brînzeu County Emergency Hospital in Temesvár, has the most advanced genome therapy and research laboratory in Eastern Europe.
Title image: Coronavirus vaccine samples. (source: OncoGen Facebook page)