US-based Arcturus Therapeutics and Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore have received approval from the country’s Health Sciences Authority (HSA) to assess Covid-19 vaccine candidate LUNAR-COV19 in a Phase I/II clinical trial.
Arcturus and Duke-NUS collaborated to create a Covid-19 vaccine based on the company’s STARR technology and a Duke-NUS platform designed for the quick screening of vaccines for safety and effectiveness.
The STARR technology uses self-replicating mRNA in combination with LUNAR, a nanoparticle delivery system for mRNA molecules.
In animal studies, LUNAR-COV19 was able to induce humoral and cellular immunity at doses as low as 0.2µg. Arcturus also showed 100% seroconversion for anti-SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibodies with a single 2µg dose.
Recent preclinical findings revealed that neutralising antibody levels in response to a single LUNAR-COV19 dose continue to rise over 50 days. The increasing antibody levels are said to be due to the self-replicating mRNA in the vaccine product.
Duke-NUS Emerging Infectious Diseases Program deputy director professor Ooi Eng Eong said: “Preclinical studies on LUNAR-COV19 have shown very promising findings, including the possibility that a single dose of this vaccine may be sufficient to trigger robust and durable immune responses against SARS-CoV-2.
“We are very eager to start the first-in-human clinical trial here in Singapore and advance LUNAR-COV19 on its journey to becoming a potential commercial vaccine.”
Source: Clinical Trials Arena