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Veterinarians at OSU develop vaccine technology that could protect against COVID-19 and measles at the same time

Two veterinarians from OSU's College of Veterinary Medicine took a measles vaccine and added the COVID-19 spike protein as a response to the global pandemic.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio doctors are working to develop vaccine technology to protect us from COVID-19. 

Dr. Jianrong Li and Dr. Stefan Niewiesk from Ohio State University's College of Veterinary Medicine took a measles vaccine and added the COVID-19 spike protein as a response to the global pandemic. 

The result was a vaccine that is shown to protect against both measles and COVID-19 in at least animals.

The next step is testing humans.

The vaccine could be particularly helpful in developing countries, as it does not require the same refrigeration as the mRNA vaccines. 

"We think the measles virus is a very good vaccine because it has a long-standing safety record. It has been instrumental in reducing the measles virus worldwide," Niewiesk said. "We think that given all the data it makes a very effective vaccine. Also, given the fact, it protects life-long against measles virus infections so ideally (and we do not know this yet) it would also protect for a very long time against COVID-19." 

Biological E. Limited and the Ohio State Innovation Foundation announced an exclusive license agreement on Tuesday for the vaccine technology.

The company will be responsible for the evaluation and further development, including the commercialization of the vaccine candidate(s). 

“Translating this vaccine platform into the hands of a global vaccine company for further evaluation and development is a critical step and we are excited that Biological E has taken on this role,” said Dr. Patrick Green, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Mahima Datla, Managing Director of Biological. E. Limited added, "BE has been working to develop a safe and effective vaccine for the COVID-19. BE is very happy to help further this innovation and expand that effort." 

To read more about the technology, click here.