GreenLight Biosciences (ENVI) and IAVI, a nonprofit scientific research organization, today announced work on a messenger RNA vaccine candidate to tackle the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
“The highly mutated Omicron variant may be partially capable of eluding existing vaccines, so rapid adaptation is an urgent priority,” said GreenLight CEO Andrey Zarur. “We have started lab work already. We will be testing a new candidate vaccine shortly in preclinical models. We have also begun an analysis on how we would proceed in clinical studies in Africa, in the context of our current clinical plans.”
IAVI President and CEO Mark Feinberg said, “While it’s impossible to say right now where Omicron first emerged, we wouldn’t have been able to respond to this threat so quickly had it not been for the skill and openness of the South African scientists who identified the variant and shared the sequence with the world. Now we must focus on bringing solutions forward both to address this new variant and the stark inequities that remain in the global availability of vaccines to prevent COVID-19.”
On November 30, GreenLight and IAVI announced their plans to partner to advance GreenLight’s messenger RNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate in a Phase I clinical trial, with IAVI responsible for clinical trial management in collaboration with its network of clinical research center partners in sub-Saharan Africa. The flexibility of the messenger RNA platform has allowed GreenLight to advance new variant-adjusted vaccine candidates.