University of Pittsburgh and UPMC develop potential COVID-19 vaccine

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PITTSBURGH, Pa. (WTAJ) — Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC have developed a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

“This is the first coronavirus vaccine candidate in this pandemic to achieve this important milestone,” says Donald Yealy, Chair of Department of Emergency Medicine with UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh.

He says they could be on the verge of a breakthrough in the coronavirus crisis.

“It is a band-aid-like patch that has hundreds of microscopic needles made up of a sugar-like substance that rapidly dissolves in the body,” says Louis Falo, Professor and Chair of Dermatology with the Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC. “When pressed onto the skin, the needles penetrate the outer skin layer and then dissolve and release the vaccine.”

He says the vaccine works similar to that of a flu shot.

“This vaccine is designed to safe, in part because it delivers very low doses of antigen..so much lower doses than a traditional flu vaccine.”

Researchers just finished up the trials on mice and now are looking to move to human trials.

“Once we get approval from the F.D.A., we’ll be ready to start human safety trials,” says Falo.

They say it could only be a matter of weeks before human trials start, however, it will still probably be 12 to 18 months before the vaccination, if successful, would be ready for public distribution.

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