Mice engineered to resist the deadly coronavirus are making human embryos as well as other animal embryos more resistant to pneumonia, researchers report.
In a paper published in the journal Nature Communications, the researchers used an innovative method to genetically engineer mice with immune-boosting antibodies and a “non-pneumonic” immune response.
They used a modified mouse embryo, called a mouse-human hybrid, to create a model of human and mouse cells, as well a mouse model of the coronaviruses coronavirozaid and cv-19 pandemic.
“This was a very interesting development that has implications for the design of vaccines,” said study co-author Eric D. Gopnik, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Toronto and a co-founder of the Canadian Gene-editing Initiative.
“It’s a very, very promising approach to designing and developing vaccines.”
In the study, the mice in the experiment had an immune response that could kill bacteria, but not viruses.
But when they were injected with the coronivirus-killing antibodies, the immune response failed to work.
The researchers then inserted the antibody into the mice’s cells and turned them into mice that were able to withstand the coronovirus-carrying antibodies.
“The immunization that we did with the antibody-derived mouse embryos is quite effective against the coronvirus, but we have to make sure that the immune responses that the engineered mice have are able to work,” said co-first author Rachael R. Fitch, a postdoctoral fellow in Gopnick’s lab.
Fitch and co-authors also used a similar technique to create an engineered mouse that was more resistant than its non-possible human counterpart to cv19 pandemics coronavire and ccv-19viral.
“If you’ve got a disease that is deadly to humans, you want to be able to get that vaccine and that vaccine has to be effective against it,” said Fitch.
“So we wanted to create something that is as safe as possible.
And the engineered mouse was really good at that.”
Fitch said she is excited to see more research into the use of engineered mouse embryos to create vaccines.
“It’s great that we’re now working with the human equivalent of the mouse,” she said.
“But it’s very exciting to see how we can improve it further.”
In addition to Fitch and Gopniak, co-lead authors are Jens Schulze and Lars Kallberg from the University Hospital for Tropical Medicine in Freiburg, Germany; Dr. Andreas Epprich and Dr. Rolf-Dieter Pohl from the Medical University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C.; and Drs.
Ayla Ladd and Daniel W. Tully from the New York University Langone Medical Center.
The study was funded by the Canadian Genome Institute, a collaboration of the federal, provincial and territorial governments of Canada and the U.S. The work was supported by the Medical Research Council Canada and National Institutes of Health grant R01 CA002482, by the UB Centre for Genome Science and Technology in Vancouver and by the Human Genome Project.
The research is supported by National Institutes and the Canada Research Chairships program, and by an American National Institutes for Health Research (NIGMS) Graduate Research Fellowship (grant number R01 AI053886) and by grants from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Institutes on Aging.