Death, Taxes, and Covid shots. The future stretching out in front of us has maybe only these three certainties.
The virus is actively mutating constantly, and over some period of time, those mutations will produce a variant that falls outside of the efficacy boundary of current major vaccine platforms, which are now defined mostly by vaccines from: the partnership between Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech SE – ADR (NASDAQ:BNTX), Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA), AstraZeneca plc (NASDAQ:AZN), and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ).
Once that happens, we will start the battle virus 2.0 with vaccine 2.0. Scientists hope this will be only about once per year, but it could be more. And it will likely be something you do for the rest of your life, once or twice a year.
A new survey from People’s Vaccine Alliance, including views from epidemiologists, virologists, and infectious disease specialists at some of the top academic institutions spanning 28 nations, found something that may come as a shock to you if you haven’t been keeping up with your medical journal research: Over 30% of the experts said new variants of the virus would surpass our current vaccine horizon in nine months or less, more than 85% said mutations would render current vaccines ineffective at some point, and nearly 70% of the experts said we would need a new vaccine before a year out.
The reason for this stark view is a combination of this virus’s ability to rapidly mutate and the low coverage of vaccinations expected to define the reality on the ground for the billions of people living in poor countries where less than 10% of populations are expected to have access to a vaccine within the next year.
If we are going to escape this outcome, we need two dynamics to take shape: first, we need a virus platform capable of producing a vaccine that can cover multiple variants and newer variants now, and we need a production system that can scale vaccine components faster and at a lower cost than present platforms.
In both cases, the answer may lie with Dyadic International Inc (NASDAQ:DYAI) and its C1 fungal vaccine platform.
DYAI has developed a biopharmaceutical gene expression platform based on the fungus Thermothelomyces heterothallica (formerly Myceliophthora thermophila), also known as “C1”.
In a recent update, it was revealed that the company’s technology was able to produce an antigen solution for SBV that was hundreds of times more scalable and stable than antigens produced through a traditional vector.
The company has now started to move toward collaborations that could produce the next major breakthrough in fighting Covid-19 over the long term, including vaccines that cover Covid-19 variants. In fact, DYAI believes it can produce trivalent and quadrivalent Covid-19 vaccines – ie a single vaccine that can cover three or even four variants of the virus simultaneously.
According to materials published by Dyadic International Inc (NASDAQ:DYAI), the C1 microorganism enables the development and large-scale manufacture of low-cost proteins and has the potential to be further developed into a safe and efficient expression system that may help speed up the development of biologic vaccines and drugs at commercial scales, while lowering production costs and improving performance at the same time.
Dyadic is using the C1 technology and other technologies to conduct research, development and commercial activities involving the development and manufacturing of human and animal vaccines and drugs, such as virus like particles (VLPs) and antigens, monoclonal antibodies, Fab antibody fragments, Fc-Fusion proteins, biosimilars and/or biobetters, and other therapeutic proteins. Certain other research activities are ongoing which include the exploration of using C1 to develop and produce certain metabolites and other biologic products.
Dyadic pursues research and development collaborations, licensing arrangements and other commercial opportunities with its partners and collaborators to leverage the value and benefits of these technologies in development and manufacture of biopharmaceuticals.
As the aging population grows in developed and undeveloped countries, Dyadic believes its C1 technology may help bring biologic vaccines, drugs, and other biologic products to market faster, in greater volumes, at lower cost, and with new properties to drug developers and manufacturers, and improve access and cost to patients and the healthcare system. But most importantly, this technology holds the potential to save lives.
If DYAI is able to successfully adapt its technology to leverage the inherent scalability of C1 as a vaccine protein vector, then it may be an important key to driving wider coverage of populations in the developing world and producing vaccines that cover multiple variants.
In each case, the implications are significant.
In the first case, reducing unvaccinated populations stands to extend the life cycle for each iteration of a vaccine by reducing the incubation range of new mutations. In the second case, a trivalent or quadrivalent vaccine is a wider net, which is harder to escape.
Together, DYAI’s technology has the potential to materially improve our outcome by making it easier for mankind to stay one step ahead of the next pandemic.