EpiVax is dedicated to providing continuously updated information concerning COVID-19 vaccine efforts.
For all updates, press releases, interviews and more please visit our official COVID-19 page.
UPDATE March 16, 2020:
As closures and cancellations increase across the state and across the country, we encourage you to remain calm, collected, and informed. Dr. De Groot recently shared some wonderful information on public action in times of pandemic.
At EpiVax, we are taking precautions. As the public health threat escalates, we want to assure you that EpiVax has implemented all precautionary measures recommended in the Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan, Prepare and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 developed by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC). Please feel free to reach out to us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
Check out Dr. De Groot’s blog, Thinking Out Loud for our preparedness plan.
UPDATE March 14, 2020:
On Saturday 14Mar 2020 our CEO/CSO Anne De Groot was featured on 20h on France 2 with host Anne-Sophie Lapix. describing EpIVax’s plans to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.
UPDATE March 4, 2020:
We’re working as fast as we can. Currently, the EpiVax Vaccine Team (Lenny Moise, Annie De Groot, Christine Boyle, and Lauren Meyers) are designing vaccines for four different efforts – Peptide-based vaccines (Press release HERE); A Spike-based Recombinant Protein vaccine with the University of Georgia (Press release HERE), and we are also looking to partner in RNA and DNA.
Our CEO, Dr. Anne De Groot, has also been asked her professional opinion in several news outlets, including WBUR Public Radio and Providence Business News. Dr. Lenny Moise has also spoken with local Convergence RI about EpiVax’s approach to develop a vaccine.
2019-nCOV (Coronavirus): What to know, and what to expect?
Unless you have been in a media blackout these past two weeks, you are well aware of the latest public health threat: 2019-nCoV. This new strain of coronavirus is currently linked to over forty thousand infections and rising fatalities in China, and additional cases have been brought to other areas of the world. by air travelers. Here’s our perspective:
Is it worse than SARS? That’s hard to say. Younger people may be more resilient, but a reported 25-30% of cases require intensive care. In truth, we don’t know because we don’t have the denominators (number of infected, number recovering), we only have the available daily updates on the situation which are available here.
Isn’t it just like the common cold? Afterall, the common cold is caused by coronaviruses. That would be nice, but, no. Our analysis of the conservation of T cell epitopes found in currently circulating strains of coronaviruses with the novel 2019 n-COV shows poor conservation of T cell epitopes (at left), this is also true for other coronaviruses like SARS, MERS, etc, at right. That’s why this virus is going to be far worse than the common cold or the flu. (For medical updates see here).
Can you make a vaccine for it? Yes we can. And, because it is an RNA virus, has the opportunity to ‘go stealth‘ due to the mutability of its genome, making it a bit more difficult. But we are working swiftly, under the direction of EpiVax Vaccine Director, Dr. Lenny Moise, to develop a computational plan of attack. Important to note – it has human-like sequences that may abrogate immune response. Like HIV. Like HCV. See below a JanusMatrix analysis of the 2019-nCOV spike protein and read see our blog post here.
Please see the following links to literature on what is known so far:
The first outbreak:
Outbreak of Pneumonia of Unknown Etiology in Wuhan China: the Mystery and the Miracle
The first mention of spread within China:
The continuing 2019-nCoV epidemic threat of novel coronaviruses to global health — The latest 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China
Clinical Characteristics: Case Study in 138 Patients
Clinical Characteristics of 138 Hospitalized Patients With 2019 Novel Coronavirus–Infected Pneumonia in Wuhan, China
Live look at epidemiology by Johns Hopkins CSSE