Viravaxx AG, a clinical stage
biopharmaceutical company based in Vienna, Austria, announced today that
it has launched a project for combating COVID-19 together with the
Medical University of Vienna.

In this project an integrated immunodiagnostic and vaccination platform
for COVID-19 will be created. Based on the partners‘ novel microchip
technology platform, a microarray is composed, on which the structural
proteins of the SARS-CoV-2-virus in glycosylated and non-glycosylated
form as well as certain relevant fragments of the proteins and a library
of overlapping peptides from virus proteins are represented. This
microarray – thereby covering the whole proteome of the virus – allows
high resolution mapping of antigenic determinants eliciting an immune
response following infection.

Furthermore, an ELISA assay capable of analyzing the interaction of the
SARS-CoV-2 spike protein with its receptor is established. In a clinical
study, which has already received ethics approval and will start very
soon, sera from convalescent COVID-19 patients will be tested for virus
neutralization capacity and for epitope mapping. 200 patients with mild
and 200 patients with severe course of the disease will be enrolled and
compared to 200 healthy controls.

These data and pseudonymized clinical records using machine learning
algorithms contributed by the Technical University of Munich (Prof. Jan
Baumbach) will be correlated to derive antibody signatures. Both tests
together are expected to deliver reliable results about the development
of protective immunity.

These signatures and the identification of epitopes eliciting a virus
neutralizing antibody response will enable the design of vaccine
candidates using our proprietary PCFiT- (peptide-carrier-fusion)
platform. These vaccines will be tested for immunogenicity in animal
models, and the immune response will be analyzed with our microarray and
the neutralization ELISA. They will subsequently be moved to clinical
testing in the shortest possible timeframe.

Rainer Henning, Viravaxx’ CEO, comments: “In the current devastating
COVID-19-pandemic, two major demands are on everybody’s mind. First,
there is an urgent need for serological assays which effectively
identify protective immunity, so that already immune people can get back
to work and social interactions. This test should also allow measurement
of herd immunity established in the broader population.  Second, a
potent vaccine is required, which reliably confers lasting immunity, so
that vaccinated people will be protected from future waves of
SARS-CoV-2-infections. We at Viravaxx work to answer these demands with
our integrated platform. We are very keen to help people around the
world to get their normal life back after the pandemic.”