Stony Brook-based Applied DNA Sciences Has Covid-19 Vaccines in Trial

applied dna sciences
Applied DNA Sciences CEO James Hayward. (Photo by Bob Giglione)

Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna have made Covid-19 vaccines that are now being shipped and administered around the world. However, they are far from the only ones developing and testing the vaccine that people have been waiting for.

In fact, Applied DNA Sciences, Inc., based in Stony Brook, is conducting trials with five of its own Covid-19 vaccine contenders. The company’s subsidiary, LineaRx, Inc., announced a partnership with Takis Biotech, a Rome-based biotech agency, in February and has made some promising strides in the months since.

Dr. James Hayward, president and CEO of Applied DNA, said that the companies’ method involves linear DNA production “that we believe will yield a safe and effective vaccine with fewer risks than other DNA production platforms.”

All five of the companies’ vaccines have resulted in Covid-19 antibody production in mice, Hayward reported in July. The next step, which LineaRx and Takis are tackling now, is to test the vaccine on larger animals.

In mid-September, the companies began working with Engineered Veterinary Vectored Immunotherapy and Vaccines (EvviVas), an entity of Takis, to test the vaccine on cats. This study will take about three more months. 

“Because animals and people can both be affected by this zoonotic virus, and with much of the world’s Covid-19 efforts centered on humans with very little known about its effects on our closest companions with whom we share our homes, we believe it prudent to pursue this avenue for the therapeutic benefit of animals and humans alike,” Hayward noted.

The companies acknowledge that their five “LineaDNA” vaccines, as they call them, are not guaranteed to be approved by regulatory agencies, which would be critical before the vaccines reach the public. However, the companies believe the LineaDNA vaccine is a significant contribution to the holistic scientific approach of combatting the novel coronavirus.

Applied DNA has also been conducting Covid-19 surveillance testing, a method aimed at reducing community spread. Hayward said that the testing “has been seen as a powerful tool to protect classrooms, workplaces, and other populations from Covid-19.”

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