Altered red blood cells could provide us with a more tolerable COVID vaccine

The effectiveness of many vaccines is enhanced by substances called adjuvants. They kickstart your body’s immune response, encouraging stronger and longer lasting immunity.

Overall, adjuvants are pretty safe: They’ve been tested and used in human vaccines for decades and can come in many different forms (like fatty acids or natural oils). But they can also cause adverse reactions after the stab such as redness, swelling, and pain in your arm. Some supplements can even lead to fever, chills, and body aches. Many people have been immunized against COVID-19 (and hope that includes you, dear reader) know how this feels.

To be fair, these are good signs that the immune system is working, but we all want to keep the benefits of the excipients without their negative effects. That brings us to red blood cells: disc-shaped cells with concave centers that run through 60,000 miles of blood vessels in your body to deliver oxygen and remove waste. Now, their responsibilities extend to include preventing the spread of COVID-19.

In a study published March 11 in the magazine PLOS OneResearchers at McMaster University in Canada have biologically engineered red blood cells to carry the mutant protein of the COVID-19 virus, opening a revolutionary new way to immunize humans against disease while reducing the likelihood of negative side effects.

Because red blood cells are the body’s natural taxicab for various compounds, Scientists have long investigated use them to deliver drugs to diseased cells and tissues, such as cancer. At the start of the pandemic, some researchers thought it would be possible to essentially use red blood cells to create an effective adjuvant-free COVID vaccine.

“When COVID-19 hit, [we] have the toolbox ready,” Maikel Rheinstadter, biophysicist and co-author of the new study, told The Daily Beast.

The McMaster researchers wanted to see if it was possible to create red blood cells that mimic the mutant protein of the coronavirus. They tested chemicals that softened the cell membranes of red blood cells from mice. They then inserted the mutant protein on these softened membranes.

When these new spike-filled red blood cells were injected back into the mice, they resulted in the production of COVID antibodies for up to two weeks. In other words, red blood cells led to the COVID vaccination.

And importantly, Rheinstadter said, the treated mice did not exhibit the fever, chills, and other negative side effects that people typically experience after a COVID injection.

Rheinstadter and lead author Sebastian Himbert (who also works at McMaster) say the erythropoietic vaccine provides an immune response as good as that observed in other COVID vaccine trials in mice. While encouraging, we still don’t know if these findings can be replicated in more thorough trials and whether a red blood cell-based vaccine will work safely and effectively in humans. person or not.

However, it could provide a personalized vaccine option for patients who are particularly sensitive to adjuvants and who are otherwise worried about dealing with adverse reactions after injection.

In addition to COVID-19 and vaccine delivery systems, Rheinstadter and his team want to investigate the use of modified red blood cells to treat Alzheimer’s disease or even antibiotic resistance.

“We plan to have large-scale studies to see if there are any side effects, what the exact dosage is, the exact mechanism, etc. “But it could be a viable way to do this,” says Rheinstadter. develop vaccines in the future because no one has done it before. This is an important alternative because it is not an mRNA vaccine; it’s a manufactured vaccine and many people may feel more comfortable and safer using it. “ Altered red blood cells could provide us with a more tolerable COVID vaccine

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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