Moroccan-American Developing a Universal COVID-19 Vaccine

The vaccine, which could induce immunity against both current and future strains of COVID-19, is currently in preclinical trials in the US.

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Rabat – A universal COVID-19 vaccine, developed by US-Moroccan immunologist Lbachir BenMohamed and his team, has shown promising results in preclinical testing in the US.

This vaccine is known as the “Pre-emptive Pan-Coronavirus Vaccine,” if successful, it will provide immunity not only to all current strains of COVID-19, but also any others that could be discovered in the future.

The vaccine is currently being developed and tested on laboratory animals, in BenMohamed’s  laboratory of cellular and molecular immunology affiliated with the University of California, Irvine.

Considering China’s SARS-CoV in 2003, Saudi Arabia’s MERS-CoV in 2012, and the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing now, BenMohamed explained to Moroccan state media, that “there will certainly be other similar coronaviruses, and the question is this: When and where another pandemic linked to the coronavirus will occur?”

That is why a universal vaccine is so important, if not only it would aid in the efforts to contain the current COVID-19 pandemic, but it would help us be better prepared for different strains yet to come.

Read also: Vaccination Campaign for Foreign Residents in Morocco Running Smoothly

The immunologist explained that the vaccine “is not only focused on the viral protein Spike (which is the key that allows SARS-CoV-2 to enter our body),” but also other proteins of the virus that could trigger an immune response. As such, the universal vaccine “contains sequences of viruses isolated from bats, as well as the sequences of viruses isolated from pangolin, civet, mink, camel, and humans,” explained BenMohamed.

The professor also assured that the vaccine will also be effective against the most-recently mutated variants of COVID-19, like the ones found in the UK, Brazil, and South Africa. 

BenMohamed did not hide his pride of Morocco’s success in handling the pandemic. “Morocco has made a very important leap in terms of vaccination,” he said, while also stressing the importance of encouraging “everyone to get vaccinated, the vaccine being safe and effective and the only way out of the epidemic and fully reopening the epidemic economy.”