“The first thing you have to do is make a vaccine in a way that will protect against CoVID-19,” Dr. John M. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), told the Guttmacher Institute’s Hamilton Smith.
“It is impossible to avoid this,” he added. But COVID-19, when new mutations are discovered, could provide medical immunity.
Fauci was discussing a newly revealed protein structure of CoVID-19 with his South African counterpart, Sima Seneviratne. She gave a clearer picture of what the role of CoVID-19 may be in humans: CoVID-19 may be of great use, she explained, in monkeys that are susceptible to C. difficile infection, the condition that killed Prince William.
That helps account for what Seneviratne called “a normal biology” of CoVID-19. COVID-19 is produced by the gut and plays a role in disease. Still, she was confident that the protein could be found without interfering with the disease.
“We can already contain it in our human gut by just adding molecules to this toxin,” she explained.
Dr. Pamela Dyck, a Rice University microbiologist who was not part of the study, said she felt comfortable with the results, given that it was based on studies with previous, non-Genotype-19 mutations. Her team has yet to find any natural immune responses that can protect monkeys from C. difficile infection, despite having collected these samples over decades.
But Dyck was still concerned that this new variant of CoVID-19, if discovered in humans, would have “a profound impact” on human health, including potentially the ability to evade the vaccine.
“If there’s no virus sequence that can recognize this and the virus gets undetected, then in fact it would have an extraordinarily high rate of success” in humans, she said.
For more information about the oral approach to drug development, refer to our interactive; and be sure to read the entire study (on selective presentation of CVID-19 protein) on the Guttmacher Institute website.