Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada specializing in infectious disease are building a new COVID-19 vaccine candidate that comprises of a cannabis component in it.
The team of researchers at the university believes that plant-based antigens are much easier to be produced at a commercial scale in comparison to animal-based antigens.
A cannabis-based company, Zyus Life Sciences is studying whether cannabis compounds can play a significant role in fighting the Novel Coronavirus that has destabilized entire mankind.
The company received a license the previous year from Health Canada to develop medical products consisting of cannabis components. The company entered into a partnership with the International Vaccine Center at the University of Saskatchewan to develop cannabis-based proteins for vaccines.
This vaccine is one of the many vaccines being developed in the world for COVID-19. Numerous drugs are being currently tested in the quest for finding a cure. This includes everything from Remdesivir to Hydroxychloroquine.
The researchers have also turned to cannabis which can prove to be a potential building block for a viable vaccine.
How does Cannabis Protein Work in COVID-19 Vaccine?
Brent Zettl, the CEO of Zyus shared that his team of researchers has been working on a protein platform for several years before entering the cannabis space. His team has been currently working on two types of compounds.
One is being developed using cannabis and the other one using a different plant component. The compounds are being used to synthesize a protein that can form a base for a COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
The information and inputs from the university researchers have assisted the Zyus team to find an actual antigen that could work as a vaccine. The team is working on inducing the DNA into the plant so that the plant can itself manufacture the same protein.
Zettl is of the opinion that plant-based compounds are far more effective than animal-based compounds owing to their ability to clone proteins in a much easier way. Plants are far more efficient when it comes to manufacturing proteins.
Moreover, such compounds are ideal for large-scale production. Also, plant-based proteins could be more appealing to the vegan population in the US.
The senior manager at VIDO-InterVac, Dr. Paul Hodgson shared that no one really knows what a final vaccine for COVID-19 can be during these initial stages of the investigation. However, he said that with each vaccine trial, the researchers are getting closer to finding a potential cure for the condition.
With Anti-Vaxxers gaining prominence on social media, the efficacy of vaccines will surely be disputed in the near future. Anti-Vaxxers are already opposing developing any kind of vaccine for COVID-19.
However, the team at Zyus Life Sciences and VIDO-InterVac could lead to something potentially groundbreaking that could derive another benefit from the cannabis plant. The CBD community overlaps with the Anti-Vaxxer community.
Previously, VIDO-InterVac managed to develop two animal-based coronavirus vaccines for pigs and cattle. The company also holds the title for being the first lab in Canada to develop a vaccine candidate for animal testing.
The lab also received 23 million-dollar grant in federal funding for its research activities. If we look at the long list of achievements of the lab, it could soon develop something much more beneficial in this fighting against containing the novel coronavirus.
Representatives of VIDO-InterVac are asserting that a purified vaccine may be ready by the end of August. This is when the protein developed by the research team will be extracted. The race for a vaccine in the US is in full throttle.
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, Dr. Anthony Fauci informed the Senate panel that the research teams in the US are likely to develop a viable vaccine. However, it would not be in time for the school year.
Several companies have jumped onto the race to develop potential drugs for counteracting the effects of COVID-19. One such team is the researchers at the University of Lethbridge.
In a study carried out by them, some cannabis extracts lowered by the viral receptor activity of the virus in artificial human tissue.
Researchers in Israel are also testing cannabis compounds for repairing the tissues damaged by COVID-19. The anti-inflammatory properties make CBD quite appealing to scientists.
Cannabis components can prove to be immensely beneficial for both vaccine candidates and for other kinds of drugs meant to control the symptoms. The race for COVID-19 vaccine is on and there are endless possibilities emerging involving cannabis compounds.