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Tuesday, January 25th, 2022

Colorado State University to collaborate with BARDA in developing platform capable of inactivating SARS-CoV-2

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A new platform, SolaVAX, aims to help inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus — the virus which causes COVID-19 — in patients, and its progress will be a joint project of its creators at Colorado State University and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

SolaVAX was developed by CSU’s Infectious Disease Research Center using Riboflavin and ultraviolet light to carry out specific DNA and RNA chemistry on viral, bacterial, or cellular agents. It also has two important traits going for it: for one, it has already demonstrated the ability to inactivate another coronavirus, MERS-CoV; for two, it offers low risk to patients. The low risk is because its photochemistry is specific to nucleic acids and therefore induces no damage or modification to hosts’ immunogens.

The partners are working to demonstrate the process’s utility with SARS-CoV-2, but notably, it has the potential to expand and advance vaccine manufacturing capabilities. BARDA confirmed it could potentially scale up to meet vaccine needs globally.

Researchers will test the platform on stock virus cultures grown in CSU manufacturing facilities. Its creators note that SolaVAX is inexpensive, quick, and offers low toxicity, making it easy to handle, distribute, and manufacture vaccines.