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Quick Hits: University of Pittsburgh Develops Promising COVID-19 Vaccine

The team had previous experience fighting similar viruses in 2003 and 2014.

Face masks, hand sanitizer, and ventilators are in short supply, but just as important is a vaccine for COVID-19. Unfortunately, development and approval of a vaccine is a long road. According to a recent MedicalExpress article, a team of researchers at the Pitt School of Medicine that had experience with similar viruses developed a novel vaccine candidate that showed promise in the first peer-reviewed research. 

Rather than using mRNA like the other experimental vaccine candidate, this one uses a more established approach with lab-made pieces of viral protein to build immunity. The vaccine, which the authors are calling PittCoVacc (an abbreviation for Pittsburgh Coronavirus Vaccine) is delivered via a microneedle array for increased potency. It’s a fingertip-sized patch of tiny needles made entirely of sugar and the protein pieces that dissolve into the skin. 

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