Birmingham-based Southern Research expands COVID-19 vaccine work
Birmingham-based Southern Research recently announced a significant expansion to its ongoing support of COVID-19 vaccine development.
The Alabama non-profit organization in February announced a collaboration with New York-based Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp. to develop and conduct testing of the pharmaceutical company’s TNX-1800, a potential vaccine designed to protect against COVID-19.
The new expansion will include Southern Research studying immune responses to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
According to a release, the research will focus specifically on T cell immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 in volunteers who have recovered from the disease or who remain asymptomatic after exposure to COVID-19.
Results from this testing are expected in the fourth quarter of this year, followed by subsequent human trials of TNX-1800.
Raj Kalkeri, Ph.D., MBA, a senior scientist in Southern Research’s Infectious Disease Research Group, said the study’s findings will shed new light on the role that T cells – a central part of the immune system – may play in the development of a vaccine against the novel coronavirus.
“As scientists, we know that the most successful vaccines mimic and potentiate how the immune system responds to an invader,” Kalkeri stated. “This additional work we are doing with Tonix will add focus to that objective.”
Tonix CEO and president Seth Lederman, M.D., added, “The data we plan to collect from recovered and asymptomatic COVID-19 volunteers is expected to inform vaccine development on how to safely provide to vaccine recipients the same immune responses that others got from recovering from actual CoV-2 infection.”
The latest announcement continues Southern Research’s broader work to combat COVID-19.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn