UTMB developing tool to help create COVID-19 vaccine

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston is developing a tool to streamline the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a news release. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston is developing a tool to streamline the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a news release. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston is developing a tool to streamline the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a news release. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston is developing a tool to streamline the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a news release.

Researchers at UTMB are collaborating with the clinical trial laboratory services organization Q2 Solutions to make a testing kit. Q2 will produce it for clinical trials so researchers can quickly and accurately judge how well a developing COVID-19 vaccine is working on people, the release reads.

The COVID-19 tests available through governments are used to determine whether a person is infected by the virus. The UTMB test focuses on preventing infections through vaccine development by creating a technology that helps determine how well a developing vaccine protects a person from COVID-19, according to the release.

Furthermore, UTMB's test is more sensitive and works much faster to test the potency of developing vaccines as compared to tests currently available. The test shows results in a single day rather than taking several days to complete and can process more samples simultaneously, according to the release.

“We have successfully produced a reporter virus system engineered with ... tags to enable quantitative determination of vaccine effectiveness,” said Pei-Yong Shi, professor of human genetics at UTMB, in the release. “This test will enable Q2 Solutions to analyze blood samples from individuals participating in vaccine clinical trials to see whether the vaccine has induced antibodies that block infection of the virus and thereby answer critical questions in the vaccine development process.”


Q2 said they are happy to be working with UTMB.

“We are pleased to support UTMB in this important research to develop the COVID-19 assay that, once available, may help accelerate vaccine development,” said Kevin Jones, vice president and general manager of vaccine laboratories for Q2 Solutions, in the release. “We are excited to take the assay developed from this research collaboration to production in our labs and enable vaccine developers to use it for large-scale human clinical trial testing to drive toward an effective COVID-19 vaccine.”
By Jake Magee
Jake Magee has been a print journalist for several years, covering numerous beats including city government, education, business and more. Starting off at a daily newspaper in southern Wisconsin, Magee covered two small cities before being promoted to covering city government in the heart of newspaper's coverage area. He moved to Houston in mid-2018 to be the editor for and launch the Bay Area edition of Community Impact Newspaper.

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