Studies carried out by the University of Cambridge and DIOSynVax, a company created following the research, in early 2020, suggest that a single vaccine with combinations of these antigens – elements that cause the immune system to produce antibodies – could protect against a range of current and future coronaviruses.

According to the research results, published today in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, the vaccine's antigen technology provides protection against all known variants of SARS-CoV-2, as well as other coronaviruses, including those that caused the first SARS epidemic (Severe Acute Respiratory Disease) in 2002.

“Studies in mice, rabbits and guinea pigs – an important step before beginning human clinical trials currently underway in Southampton and Cambridge – found that the vaccine candidate provided a strong immune response against a range of coronaviruses, targeting the parts of the virus that are necessary for replication”, says the research, adding that the candidate vaccine is based on a single digitally designed and immunologically optimised antigen.

Although it was developed before the emergence of the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Omicron variants of SARS-CoV-2, the vaccine provided strong protection against all of these and newer variants, suggesting that vaccines based on the DIOSynVax antigens can also protect against future SARS-CoV-2 variants.