On Episode 77 of my Causes or Cures podcast, Dr. Nikolai Petrovsky joined me to discuss his new vaccine for COVID-19.
Most people are focused on the mRNA vaccines ( Pfizer-BioNTech & Moderna) or the viral-vector vaccines, like J&J, but many researchers and companies are working on protein subunit vaccines for COVID-19. Unlike the mRNA or viral-vector vaccines, the protein subunit vaccines directly deliver viral protein parts to our bodies, rather than having our cells decode a message and make the viral protein. The protein subunit vaccines are more like the traditional vaccines we are used to, and I know from the work I do concerning the public health response to COVID that there is great interest in these types of vaccines. In fact, many people who are hesitant to take an mRNA or viral-vector vaccine state that they are willing to take a protein subunit vaccine. Given our current struggle with vaccine equity, new variants and waning vaccine effectiveness, it can’t hurt to have other vaccines in our toolbox, particularly ones that are easier to distribute. I don’t believe we can vaccinate our way out of this pandemic ( due to short-lived immunity and fast-spreading variants), but I still believe that vaccines are an important tool that can help us keep people out of the hospital and maintain hospital capacity. The public-health response to COVID-19 has been hyper-focused on vaccines. The latest variant makes it clear that we need to start thinking about other tools. For example, early, at-home treatments that are affordable, mobile antibody clinics for increased access and paid-for, at-home testing. I will expand on those ideas in a subsequent blog.
Dr. Nikolai Petrovsky and his company, Vaxine, created a protein subunit vaccine for COVID-19 that was tested in randomized controlled trials in Iran and just recently approved for use there. I believe it is the first protein subunit vaccine approved for use anywhere in the world, which is rather cool.
In this podcast he will discuss how it was made, efficacy and safety results, possible side effects and how they compare to current vaccines, where it is currently available, if it is easily updated and more. In the second half of the podcast he shares his experience of the political situation in Australia. I can’t verify what he said, because I don’t know exactly what is happening in Australia, but it sounds really concerning. Perhaps a good journalist can run with what he said? I don’t have the time, and I’m not a journalist.
Who is Dr. Nikolai Petrovsky?
Dr. Petrovsky is a doctor, vaccine researcher and director of endocrinology at Flinders Medical Centre in Australia. He is vice-president and secretary-general of the international immunomics society. He is the founder and chairman of Vaxine, a company funded by the NIH to create new vaccine technology. Dr. Petrovsky has developed vaccines for influenza, hepatitis b, malaria, rabies and more. He is author of over 90 papers and book chapters.
You can listen to the podcast here.