There are those who work in partnership with the “Jenner Institute” of Oxford University – “who are ahead” – to the production of Covid-19 vaccine, like Advent Srl, which belongs to Irbm Spa of Pomezia. And who, in the nearby Roman Castle, collaborates with the Spallanzani Institute, pursuing the same goal, after starting “from the isolation of the gorilla adenovirus”, such as the biotech ReiThera Srl. But not only. Why in the Italian vaccine race against coronavirus there is also Takis Srl, who has been working in the field of genetic cancer vaccination for years and who now, by injecting “directly the plasmid DNA of the Spike protein into the muscle”, attempts the feat. All just a few kilometers away. At the gates of Rome, in an area known for commercial outlets and fairgrounds, scientists from three companies work in what appears to be a kind of Italian “anti Covid Valley”. The Fattoquotidiano.it he entered with the cameras inside these laboratories.
“We start production. We will conclude the first batch by the end of May, ”he says Stefano Colloca, responsible for the technological development of ReiThera. Then, it will be the research center of the ‘Lazzaro Spallanzani’ Institute in Rome to “begin testing on the first 40-50 Italian volunteers”, he explains Antonella Folgori, CEO of ReiThera. The target? “The effectiveness and absence of side effects will be studied. If the vaccine proves to be safe and immunogenic, we can go on in phase 2 “, explain from Roman biotech. Takis’ neighbors are also optimistic. If all goes well and the first tests prove effectiveness, “will be the Pascale Institute of Naples, in Autumn, to start the experimentation on healthy volunteers, thanks to the collaboration with the professor Paolo Ascierto, president of the Melanoma Foundation “, he explains Emanuele Marra, director of the Infectious Diseases Area.
Costs, availability of doses and methods of distribution, if the vaccine proves effective and ready on a large scale, are still not clear. “Too early to make assessments,” clarify the different companies. At work to achieve agreements and contracts with pharmaceutical companies. What is certain, they explain, is that research must go on, beyond the eventual regression of the infection: “I hope this situation has made it clear that research must be considered a common good”, underlines Marra. From ReiThera, however, they admit: “We expect aid from institutions. Private companies cannot always work at risk, they must cover very high costs and have a return. Otherwise, the risk is that everything will stop, in case the spread of the coronavirus stops ”.