ROME: An Italian medical company said it has designed a version of its COVID-eVax vaccine to combat the new omicron variant.
Takis Biotech added that this new version of the vaccine — developed with Rottapharm Biotech, another Italian company — will be ready for pre-clinical tests “within weeks.”
Luigi Aurisicchio, CEO and scientific director of Takis, told a press briefing in Rome attended by Arab News: “As we seek to defeat the pandemic, it’s imperative to be proactive while the virus evolves. In recent months, we’ve generated almost in real time modifications of COVID-eVax against the alpha, beta, gamma, delta and many other variants.”
He said unlike previous variants, omicron has a high number of mutations so it is difficult to predict whether the current vaccines are still protective.
“This is why we’re moving as fast as possible to adapt our vaccine against this variant. Thanks to what we’ve learned since the beginning of the pandemic, we designed the COVID-eVax vaccine — the omicron version — in a few hours,” he added.
However, Aurisicchio said a lack of funding “prevents us from continuing clinical trials to carry out the development of this Italian vaccine.”
Takis said there is “a lot of promising pre-clinical data” regarding the new version of the vaccine, which “has completed phase 1 in humans, with over 90 percent of the volunteers enrolled for the trial developing a specific immune response against the spike protein.”
Lucio Rovati, president and scientific director of Rottapharm, said: “Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our lives and on the world economy, Italy can play its part and make its own experience available.”