TAU Scientist Awarded U.S. Patent for Novel Coronavirus Vaccine Design

Written on |

The patent, approved in March, covers a vaccine that targets the most vulnerable point in a coronavirus’s structure, through which it penetrates human cells

Researchers worldwide are racing at breakneck speed to develop potential vaccines and drugs to fight the novel coronavirus, SARS-Cov-2. Now, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted a patent to Tel Aviv University’s Prof. Jonathan Gershoni of the School of Molecular Cell Biology and Biotechnology at TAU’s George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences for his innovative vaccine design for the corona family of viruses.

The vaccine targets the novel coronavirus’s Achilles’ heel, its Receptor Binding Motif (RBM), a critical structure that enables the virus to bind to and infect a target cell.

According to Prof. Gershoni, the vaccine would reconstruct the coronavirus’s RBM, a tiny feature of its “spike” protein. Though the virus uses many different proteins to replicate and invade cells, the “spike” protein is the major surface protein that it uses to bind to a receptor — another protein that acts like a doorway into a human cell. After the spike protein binds to the human cell receptor, the viral membrane fuses with the human cell membrane, allowing the genome of the virus to enter human cells and begin infection.

“We have been working on coronaviruses for the last 15 years, developing a method of reconstructing and reconstituting the RBM feature of the spike protein in SARS CoV and subsequently in MERS CoV,” explains Prof. Gershoni. “The moment the genome of the new virus was published in early January 2020, we began the process of reconstituting the RBM of SARS CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and expect to have a reconstituted RBM of the new virus soon. This will be the basis for a new vaccine, which could be ready for use within a year to a year and a half.”

The spike protein is quite large, containing about 1,200 amino acids. Some researchers have limited their research to a region of the spike known as the receptor binding domain (RBD) that comprises some 200 amino acids. However, the problem is that these relatively large areas have a variety of targets, and the immune system produces antibodies for all of them indiscriminately – reducing the effectiveness of a potential vaccine.

The RBM, a highly complex three dimensional structure, is only 50 amino acids long. Functionally reconstituting such a structure would be very challenging, but it would be an extremely effective basis of a vaccine, says Prof. Gershoni.

“The smaller the target and the focus of the attack, the greater the effectiveness of the vaccine,” he adds. “The virus takes far-reaching measures to hide its RBM from the human immune system, but the best way to ‘win the war’ is to develop a vaccine that specifically targets the virus’s RBM.”

Prof. Gershoni’s team has completed their initial steps toward reconstituting the new SARS CoV2’s RBM. The reconstitution of the new SARS CoV2’s RBM and its use as a basis for a new vaccine is covered by an additional pending patent application, filed by Ramot, TAU’s technology transfer arm, to the USPTO.

“Now that we have received serum samples we should be able to isolate RBM-based vaccine candidates in the next month or two,” concludes Prof. Gershoni. “The discovery and production of a functional RBM for the new coronavirus is fundamental and critical for the production of the vaccine we propose.

“Our successful isolation and reconstitution of such a functional RBM will allow the industry to incorporate it into a vaccine, which will be produced by a pharmaceutical company. Development of such an RBM-based vaccine should take months and then would need to be tested in Phase 1, 2 and 3 clinical trials which would then take up to a year.”

related posts

COVID-19 Immunity Varies Among Genders and Age Groups

July 25, 2021

New study found differences between women and men in the level of COVID-19 antibodies

July 15, 2021

First-of-its-kind study: Researchers used smart watches to monitor changes in quality of life during lockdowns

June 8, 2021

How Will We Brave the Post-COVID Era?

May 31, 2021

British Variant 45% More Contagious than Original Virus

April 28, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccinations at TAU

March 24, 2021

Covid-19 Vaccination of Nursing Mothers May Protect Babies

March 24, 2021

Academic First Responders

January 14, 2021

TAU Study Proves that Light Can Kill Coronavirus

December 14, 2020

COVID-19 Takes TAU’s Legal Clinics into High Gear

December 7, 2020

Parents show love less during COVID-19: TAU Study

December 2, 2020

Study: Women Suffer More from COVID-related Orofacial Pain

November 12, 2020

Global First: Center for Combating Pandemics

October 22, 2020

TAU Researchers Discover Antibody Combo that Fights COVID-19

October 12, 2020

Immunity Memory Cells Stay Stable Over Time After Recovery From COVID-19

October 12, 2020

Google Awards Competitive Grant to Tel Aviv University for COVID-19 Research

September 15, 2020

TAU Joint Study: COVID-19 Deaths Dive on Weekends

September 10, 2020

TAU Wins 3M Grant to Accelerate COVID-19 Vaccine Development

September 9, 2020

TAU Inaugurates Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research

September 8, 2020

New school for Biomedicine and Cancer Research at Tel Aviv University

August 13, 2020

TAU Researcher Invents Environmentally-Friendly Sanitizer

August 11, 2020

TAU Researcher Fights Epidemics Both Viral and Virtual

July 23, 2020

Tel Aviv University presents an analysis of the reaction of human antibodies to the coronavirus

July 5, 2020

TAU Researchers Fighting Covid-19

June 30, 2020

Tel Aviv University’s Serological tests

May 25, 2020

New TAU study tracks coronavirus spread patterns in Israel

May 21, 2020

Coronavirus bootcamp? New serological test conducted with the IDF

May 19, 2020

TAU partners with pharma company to develop COVID-19 vaccine

May 13, 2020

What about the environment?

May 11, 2020

A world first: TAU to establish multidisciplinary Epidemic Research Center

May 11, 2020

Tel Aviv University joins national Coronavirus testing system

May 7, 2020

TAU lab identifies effective antibodies from recovered Coronavirus patients

May 7, 2020

TAU Student, COVID-19 Sprint Invent Disposable Ventilators to Help Treat Coronavirus Patients

April 28, 2020

TAU to partner with InnoCan Pharma on revolutionary COVID-19 treatment

April 21, 2020

Message from Tel Aviv University President

April 18, 2020

Donated Equipment Aids in Urgent Coronavirus Research

April 6, 2020

Tel Aviv University Sets Up Emergency Lab to Expand COVID-19 Testing

April 5, 2020

Milner Foundation Donates $3 million to Tel Aviv University, Magen David Adom and Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov)

March 25, 2020

Students Volunteer to Increase and Improve Coronavirus Testing Across Israel

March 22, 2020

Les étudiants de l’Université de Tel-Aviv participent au combat contre le Coronavirus

March 22, 2020

TAU researcher launches urgent push to beat corona

March 18, 2020

What’s more important? Privacy vs. public health

March 17, 2020
Ontario and Western Canada

3130 Bathurst Street, Suite, 214, Toronto, ON | M6A 2A1 
Phone: 416.787.9930 | Toll Free: 833.32.CFTAU (22328)
Email: toronto@cftau.ca

Ottawa, Quebec and Atlantic Canada

6900 Boulevard Décarie, Suite 3480, Montreal, QC | H3X 2T8
Phone: 514.344.3417
Email: montreal@cftau.ca


© CFTAU  | all rights reserved
Charitable registration: 124035643RR0001

TO TOP