CureVac Covid-19 vaccine shows 100% protection against South African variant in ‘first of its kind’ mouse study

The Covid-19 jab made by German biopharmaceutical firm CureVac has shown full protection against the South African coronavirus variant and the original form of the virus, according to the results of a preprint study on mice.

Covid-infected mice that were vaccinated demonstrated “robust antibody responses” and developed complete protection against the virus, with a 100% survival rate, researchers said.

The animals were deliberately exposed to the B.1.351 strain of Covid – known as the South African variant – as well as the original form of the virus as part of a preclinical challenge infection study.

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German researchers gave the mice two doses of the mRNA-based CureVac jab 28 days apart and found that it “efficiently” blocked and reduced the replication of the virus in the animals.

The study, published in preprint format, used ACE2-transgenic mice, which are common in Covid-19 vaccine research as they exhibit similar responses to humans when infected with the virus.

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CureVac’s chief scientific officer, Igor Splawski, said that the risk of more infectious coronavirus variants like B.1.351 pose a major threat to global immunization efforts.

“To our knowledge, this is the first challenge study in a human ACE2 transgenic mouse model of severe disease that shows complete protection against one of the most threatening virus variants,” he said.

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