Radboudumc is the first to test a new corona vaccine – Algemeen Nijmegen Studentenblad

Radboudumc is the first to test a new corona vaccine – Algemeen Nijmegen Studentenblad

The Radboud University Medical Center (Radboudumc) is the first medical center to test a new corona vaccine. The new vaccine called ABNCoV2 has a different mechanism of action than current vaccines, which means it is likely to provide longer immunity.

Over the past two years, Radboudumc has been working on a corona vaccine with a new mechanism of action. The vaccine uses virus-like particles (VLP), which means that the corona vaccine consists of elements that resemble virus particles to the immune system. However, the particles cannot multiply, giving the body time to react to the virus and make antibodies. Merel Smit, PhD student and researcher of the vaccine, states that this vaccine can provide longer immunity. ‘Vaccines with this mechanism of action can reduce the need for booster vaccinations.’

Mechanism of action

The new vaccine is based on a different mechanism of action than other vaccines. ‘This vaccine contains small spheres with a lot of protein from the SARS-COV-2 virus stuck on it. This ensures that the body has a strong immune response against the protein and thus also the virus,’ explains Smit. An important advantage of this type of vaccine is the ability to adapt it quickly in case the virus develops mutations that reduce the effectiveness of the ABNCoV2 vaccine. ‘This makes it easier to offer longer protection,’ explains Smit.

The vaccine can also be stored at minus 20 degrees, in contrast to the current vaccines, which sometimes have to be stored at minus 70 or minus 80 degrees. “This also makes it easier to distribute in developing countries where freezers with a very low temperature are not available.”

To test

During the study, the safety and tolerability of the vaccine was examined. Volunteers were sought who have not yet had COVID-19 and have not yet been vaccinated. Smit says: ‘They were prepared to postpone their vaccination in order to participate in the study.’ Ultimately, forty-five healthy volunteers received two doses of the new vaccine. They were then followed for six months after the second vaccination. The participants produced antibodies and T cells against SARS-CoV-2. In addition, the study showed that the vaccine was well tolerated by the study participants, as few side effects were reported.

The vaccine was tested at Radboudumc in a phase 1 study. ‘That is a study in which it is tested on humans for the first time,’ explains Smit. ‘Phase 1 testing is often done in smaller groups to make sure it’s safe,’ she continues. The results of this test appear to be promising: ‘It is currently being tested in larger studies and on larger groups.’


Further research is needed to establish the effectiveness of this vaccine. There are currently many different studies into its effectiveness. ‘A vaccine based on a similar mechanism of action is the vaccine against the HPV virus, which can cause cervical cancer, among other things.’ With this vaccine, the time of immunity is about ten years, which promises a lot for the corona vaccine. “If this also applies to the new corona vaccine, this could mean that booster vaccinations can be given less often and with longer intervals,” says Smit.


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