It’s never too early to start thinking about the next pandemic, or the next coronavirus that could cause a worldwide lockdown. And scientists in Japan may have already developed a vaccine to stop the next major virus outbreak.

Scientists in Japan have developed a new vaccine strategy that could end pandemics caused by novel coronaviruses that transmit from animals to humans, according to a media release. In fact, the vaccine was shown to stop five different coronaviruses from infecting people.

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The researchers — who published their findings in the Journal of Experimental Medicine — decided to genetically engineer a SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, covering its head region in additional sugar molecules.”

  • These molecules would make it impossible to infect human cells.

Then, the researchers made a vaccine that produced antibodies against the virus.

The vaccine would not only recognize the viral head of the novel coronavirus but also identify the core of the virus, which would help it recognize other coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-1 (which created the SARS outbreak back in 2002).

  • “This suggests that, although the generation of broadly neutralizing antibodies is possible, SARS-CoV-2 infection and current vaccines are unlikely to provide protection against the emergence of novel SARS-related viruses,” said study lead author professor Tomohiro Kurosaki, of Osaka University, in a news release.
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Scientists have been trying to develop strategies that will stop different coronavirus variants in their tracks.

  • For example, GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology created a new antibody therapy, called Sotrovimab, that “neutralizes all known SARS-CoV-2 strains — including newly emerged mutants that can now ‘escape’ from previous antibody therapies — as well as the closely related original SARS-CoV virus,” according to a press release from the Berkeley Lab.
  • Similarly, a study from the New England Journal of Medicine suggested that some people who survived the SARS outbreak had antibodies that could stop COVID-19 and “also five viruses that have been identified in bats and pangolins and that have the potential to cause human infection,” according to Reuters.
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