HK PolyU and Macau University of Science and Technology successfully develop “recombinant RDB” vaccine for COVID-19, 8m vaccines reserved for Hongkongers


3rd August 2020 – (Hong Kong) As the COVID-19 epidemic continues, scientists have been racing against the time to develop vaccines sparking hope to curb the spread of virus. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Macau University of Science and Technology have successfully developed a “recombinant RDB” vaccine. The vaccine targets the receptor-binding region of the COVID-19 virus spike protein. The research team injected the vaccine into mice, rabbits and monkeys, effectively developing a strong antibody response against the virus to make them immune. The research team stated that they have talked about cooperating with manufacturers in Taiwan and the United States to produce vaccines as soon as possible, and the cost is lower than that of vaccines currently being produced. The research team conducted related research and development in February this year.

One of the team members, Professor of Faculty of Medicine, Zhang Kang from the Macau University of Science and Technology School of Medicine, said that the infection step of the COVID-19 is that the new coronavirus uses its spike protein receptor-binding region (S-RBD) to interact withthe host, such as a human cell, binds to the receptor and enters the host cell, causing infection. He pointed out that if this situation can be prevented, infection can be avoided.

The team found that if the recombinant vaccine targets the receptor-binding region of the new coronavirus spike protein, mice, rabbits, and monkeys can produce antibodies within 7 days or 14 days of a single dose of the vaccine, such as 2 doses. It can further improve immunity. Zhang added that the vaccine has low potential side effects, and the technology used to produce the vaccine is the same as that used to manufacture influenza vaccines. Therefore, it is a mature technology that is beneficial for mass production and reduces production costs. lau Yiu Nam, visiting professor in the Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology of PolyU, said that he has contacted Taiwan and American manufacturers and signed contracts with Taiwanese manufacturers. It is believed that production and human clinical trials can be carried out soon. Lau had also mentioned related research with the Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Alfred Sit Wing-hang earlier. As for whether it has the same high antibodies and low side effects in humans as animals, he pointed out that tests should be conducted again. He hopes that after quantitative production, 8 million vaccines can be reserved for the citizens of Hong Kong and Macau.