DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Researchers at the Duke Human Vaccine Institute shared new data about the early success of a newly-developed vaccine which targets three strains of coronaviruses.
"What we're trying to do is predict what will be the next coronavirus. If it's a SARS-related virus, then we want to have antibodies that are able to recognize multiple SARS-related viruses. If it's a MERS-related virus, we want to have antibodies that can recognize multiple MERS coronaviruses," said Dr. Kevin Saunders, Associate Director of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute.
The findings, published in Cell Reports, this vaccine -- which included components of a previous vaccine shown to provide protection against variants of SAR-CoV-2 (virus that causes COVID-19) -- provided protection against SARS-CoV-1 and a MERS coronavirus.
"We are trying to develop a vaccine where you would be immunized with this vaccine and be protected against multiple different coronaviruses, and you wouldn't necessarily have to worry about the coronavirus that's coming in the future because you would have broad immunity against multiple different coronaviruses," said Saunders.
As the form of a future coronavirus outbreak is unknown, Saunders pointed to the importance of adaptability.
"The same technology we can broaden it against these three coronaviruses that we know are human pathogens, we can use that same technology to make it broader or apply it to other coronaviruses. If there are other viruses that come in the future, we can use the same platform, the same technology, and we can modify the vaccine to make it more effective against other pathogens that come along," Saunders explained.
It's taken about three years to get to this point, in which studies have been performed in mice. Saunders cautioned it is still years until this could eventually be taken to market, though initial data is promising.
"We know from looking at history that coronavirus outbreaks occur about every seven to nine years," Saunders said.
Wednesday, NCDHHS released its weekly COVID-19 metrics.
For the week ending Saturday, October 14th, 6.7% of emergency department visits were for respiratory viruses, down from 7.1% the week before. Further, 2.9% of emergency department visits were for COVID-like illness, down from 3.3% the week before, and 4.9% approximately a week before.
There were 481 hospital admissions for COVID-19, down 18.6% from the previous week, and 22.6% from approximately a month prior.
Wastewater monitoring data, which is available for the week ending Wednesday, October 11th, found there was 21.1 million COVID-19 virus particles per person found in wastewater samples, a 5.5% increase from the previous week; however, it is still 37.6% lower than approximately a month prior.