Novel Covid vaccine may provide protection for cancer patients

 German researchers have developed a new Covid vaccine that is effective among people with weaker immune systems like cancer patients, particularly those with B-cell deficiencies.

The results presented at the recent AACR Annual Meeting 2022, showed that the vaccine CoVac-1 induced T-cell immune responses in 93 per cent of patients with B-cell deficiencies, including many patients with leukaemia and lymphoma.

The CoVac-1 vaccine enhances the response from T cells - another type of immune cell, and "previous evidence has shown that T cells can combat Covid-19 even in the absence of neutralising antibodies.

T-cell immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 are of particular importance for patients with B-cell deficiencies, who develop very limited antibody responses after infection or vaccination.

mRNA-based vaccines produce a larger piece of a single protein, the spike protein, which our cells can break down into antigens, Tandler and colleagues chose six specific antigens from different parts of the virus (not limited to spike) to make up their vaccine.

CoVac-1 is a peptide vaccine, meaning that the protein pieces are injected directly, rather than being encoded via mRNA.

Fourteen days after vaccination, T-cell immune responses were observed in 71 percent of patients, which rose to 93 percent of patients 28 days after vaccination.

The researchers are currently preparing a phase III clinical trial to evaluate CoVac-1 in a larger population of immunocompromised individuals, and Walz is hopeful that the results will allow this new vaccine to protect cancer patients with B-cell deficiencies from severe cases of COVID-19.