Pitt Scientists Develop Potential COVID-19 Vaccine

The vaccine, if proven effective and approved by the FDA, would be delivered in a skin patch.


Medical labs across the world are working on a vaccine to battle the spread of COVID-19, but University of Pittsburgh researchers are reporting a breakthrough.

Scientists at Pitt’s School of Medicine announced today that they have found a potential vaccine capable of battling the strand of coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic. Delivered through a small patch that attaches to the skin, the vaccine builds immunity similar to a flu shot.

The university was able to act quickly due to its studies on previous coronavirus outbreaks. The researchers were able to use their knowledge on so-called spike proteins, which create an immunity to the virus, to expedite the creation of the COVID-19 vaccine.


“We knew exactly where to fight this new virus,” says Dr. Andrea Gambotto, associate professor of surgery at the Pitt School of Medicine and co-senior author of the research. “That’s why it’s important to fund vaccine research. You never know where the next pandemic will come from.”

Dr. Louis Falo, professor and chairman of the School of Dermatology at the Pitt School of Medicine and UPMC, is co-senior author.

PittCoVacc, short for Pittsburgh Coronavirus Vaccine, showed positive results when used on mice during testing. Able to be mass-produced and stored at room temperature, widespread distribution of the vaccine would be simplified.

“For most vaccines, you don’t need to address scalability to begin with,” Gambotto says. “But when you try to develop a vaccine quickly against a pandemic that’s the first requirement.”

Pending approval from the Food and Drug Administration, the vaccine is expected to enter human testing phases in the upcoming months.

You can learn by watching this video provided by UPMC.

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