A DNA synthetic vaccine for the virulent Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS) induced robust and durable immune responses, according to manufacturer Inovio Pharmaceuticals.

Using Inovio’s SynCon vaccine platform, researchers created DNA vaccine constructs that targeted multiple MERS antigens. According to Inovio, antibodies generated by the vaccine in 100% of mice were able to neutralize or completely block actual infection of MERS virus in the cells, demonstrating the protective potential of this vaccine. None of the unvaccinated mice in the control group generated neutralizing antibodies.

“Our SynCon platform has again generated a synthetic vaccine candidate that shows promise for providing a treatment where there is none, said J. Joseph Kim, PhD, Inovio’s president and chief executive officer, who added that the company is eager to provide Inovio’s answer to MERS.

“What’s even more impressive about our candidate vaccine is that it is designed with the goal to universally protect against multiple strains of MERS, which has been shown to have diverse genetic variants. With appropriate external funding, this product could become an effective shield against this deadly virus.”