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The rapid development of vaccines that protect against COVID was a remarkable scientific achievement that saved millions of lives.

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The vaccines have demonstrated substantial success in reducing death and serious illness after COVID infection.

Despite this success, the effects of the pandemic have been devastating, and it is critical to consider how to protect against future pandemic threats. As well as SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID), previously unknown coronaviruses have been responsible for the deadly outbreaks of SARS (2003) and MERS (2012 outbreak with ongoing cases). Meanwhile, several circulating bat coronaviruses have been identified as having the potential to infect humans – which could cause future outbreaks.

My colleagues and I have recently shown, in mice, that a single, relatively simple vaccine can protect against a range of coronaviruses – even ones that are yet to be identified. This is a step towards our goal of what is known as “proactive vaccinology”, where vaccines are developed against pandemic threats before they can infect humans.

 

Read the full story on The Conversation website conducted by Rory HillsPhD Candidate, Biochemistry, University of Oxford

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