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Vaccine Research & Development

Since New York Blood Center’s establishment in 1964, its basic and translational research performed at the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute has pioneered new therapies and understanding in the fields of transfusion medicine, cellular therapy, hematology, and infectious disease, resulting in numerous landmark patents and licenses. Specifically, in viral immunology, we bring innovation to global health issues by developing vaccines for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and now SARS-CoV-2.  We are leveraging New York Blood Center Enterprises (NYBCe) research and development to fight this current pandemic and prevent future outbreaks.

COVID-19 Vaccine and Therapeutic Agents

Research efforts have uncovered potential vaccine candidates to help prevent COVID-19 infectious. To advance our work, we bring together some of the highest caliber research scientists in the world to focus developing a COVID-19 vaccine. New York Blood Center researchers were featured in Cell Press for their extraordinary and innovative work in identifying and creating antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing the global pandemic. Stunningly, they have used this information to design a novel vaccine candidate using liposomal encapsulation of specific mRNA.

Lanying Du, PhD, Head of NYBCe's Viral Immunology Laboratory, has identified two vaccine candidates in a matter of three months.  Both vaccines are being developed for safety, efficacy, and manufactural capability for emergent use. Preclinical trials began May 11, 2020 and will continue through the summer. If safety and efficacy are established, clinical trials in humans will begin in September 2020. Dr. Du has studied SARS-CoV-1 for many years and has leveraged these insights to quickly develop a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 that has shown high efficacy to prevent infection in the laboratory.  The combination of novel adjuvant developed by Dr. Sara Lustigman, Head of NYBCe’s Molecular Parasitology Laboratory may make the vaccine or the combination of adjuvant superior to all the vaccines in trials now.

Inhibitors against SARS-CoV-2 

We are developing inhibitors against SARS-CoV-2 virus based on the structure of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein bound to the human receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which is how the virus enters the cell. The goal of this research is to develop biologics that would block the virus from entering the cell, thus preventing COVID19. 

How do vaccines work?

When you get sick from a viral infection, your immune system fights it off and learns how to fight it by developing antibodies, so if you encounter that germ in the future, your immune system will kill it before you get sick again. Vaccines contain very small amounts of dead or inert pathogen material that triggers the immune system to develop antibodies and confer immunity without the necessity for you to get sick. 

What are antigens and adjuvants?

Antigens and adjuvants are the two most important ingredients of a vaccine. The antigen is the part of the pathogen, such as protein spikes on a virus, that the immune system uses to create new antibodies, like making a new key for a new lock. While the presence of an antigen starts the immune response to make new antibodies, an adjuvant stimulates and boosts the immune response to make better antibodies in a shorter amount of time and reduces the amount of antigen needed per dose to make new antibodies. 

To learn more about NYBCe’s current COVID-19 research projects, download this summary.  Interested in forming a research collaboration with NYBCe investigators or procuring samples for your independent study? Please fill out the Research Inquiry Form below:

Research Inquiry Form


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Help Us Fight COVID-19

NYBCe is engaged in various research projects focused on COVID-19 all operating as quickly as possible. We are grateful for any and all support you can give to help our researchers maintain unprecedented speeds and quantities of data collection. If you would like to make a financial contribution, please visit our donation page and select “COVID-19 General Fund” for your “designation”. If you are not able to make a financial donation, please spread the word! Any amount and shout-out makes a difference. 

MAKE A FINANCIAL GIFT TO HELP OUR FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19 Your financial support helps us provide critical healthcare services to our communities during this pandemic, from maintaining an adequate blood supply, to collecting, testing and distributing convalescent plasma to hospitals with the hope that plasma transfusions will help save the lives of COVID-19 patients in critical need.  NYBCe seeks financial support to help advance our efforts in CP patient availability, antibody testing, and in the development of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine which is currently in the preclinical phase. Your contribution could make all the difference. Together we will win this fight.