San Diego's Inovio makes progress on universal COVID-19 vaccine

Posted at 5:51 PM, May 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-17 20:51:23-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A San Diego biotech is one step closer to developing a vaccine to protect against all COVID-19 variants.

Kate Broderick is the senior vice president of research and development at Inovio Pharmaceuticals.

"To be able to contribute even a small part to working towards a solution of this, is a remarkable experience," said Broderick.

The company is working on a "pan-coronavirus" vaccine that would protect against current and future strains of the virus.

According to Broderick, INO-4802 has shown strong immune responses against variants tested including the South American, UK, and Brazilian strains.

"Kind of combine it together using a computer algorithm to design a synthetic version of the virus spike protein, so it doesn't actually exist in nature, but what we hope it does do is kind of protect from the variants that we know about," said Broderick.

Testing has only been done on mice and hamsters so far, but the company hopes to start human trials this summer.

"As you look at how the virus is changing quite frequently, it's very possible that we will need different types of vaccines to protect us as the virus continues to mutate," said Broderick.

The company hasn't decided whether the trials will be done in its San Diego Lab or its headquarters in Pennsylvania; either way, Broderick is proud of the work that's underway.

"I hope it shows the general public what science and medicine can achieve and what a massive impact that can have in getting us back to our lives as normal," said Broderick.