K-State signs research agreement for COVID-19 vaccine candidate

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Waithaka Mwangi, professor of diagnostic pathobiology at Kansas State University.

Kansas State University has signed a new pre-clinical research and option agreement to develop a vaccine candidate for COVID-19 prevention.
The university announced Monday its reached an agreement with Tonix Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage bio-pharmaceutical company. Directing the research is Waithaka Mwangi, professor of diagnostic pathobiology in the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine. It’s based on a new vaccine platform that his research team developed for bovine parainfluenza 3 virus, also known as BPI3V, closely related to human parainfluenza 3 virus.
Mwangi says in a release from the college “a weakened BPI3V has previously been shown to be an effective vaccine vehicle in humans. More importantly, following extensive testing, BPI3V was shown to be safe and stable in infants and children.”

Researchers at K-State focused on the most critical protein of coronaviruses, which they say is the spike protein. When a person is exposed, this protein is involved in the infection of the host cell. The vaccine developed at K-State has been engineered to display the spike protein in a manner that mimics the actual virus.

The research agreement, coordinated through K-State Innovation Partners, is the fourth license agreement between K-State and corporate partners on technologies related to COVID-19.

Mwangi’s research will be conducted at the university’s Biosecurity Research Institute in Pat Roberts Hall, a biosafety level-3 facility.

More on the release can be found here.
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