OncoSec Medical has dosed several subjects in its Phase I clinical trial of vaccine candidate with an immunostimulatory cytokine, CORVax12, for treating Covid-19.

The CORVax12 vaccine approach combines the co-administration of OncoSec’s TAVO (tavokinogene telseplasmid) with a DNA-encodable version of the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) glycoprotein to boost the immunogenicity of the component developed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Vaccine Research Center scientists.

A cancer immunotherapy candidate, TAVO is potent and well-characterised plasmid-based IL-12 cytokine.

This trial ‘CORVax12: SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) Protein Plasmid DNA Vaccine Trial for Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2)’ will evaluate the safety and anti-viral immunological responses of the combination of DNA-encodable stabilised SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein with TAVO.

The open-label study will enrol 36 healthy participants, who will receive CORVax12 as a prime dose and a booster dose four weeks apart.

Volunteers will be sub-divided into two parallel age groups of 18 to 55 and above 55.

CORVax12, the DNA vaccine, will be administered using the Cliniporator low-voltage gene electro-transfer platform, which was licensed exclusively in the US by OncoSec, recently.

As IL-12 provides coordinated cellular and humoral immunity, it could not only be a better vaccine but also significantly benefits cancer patients who may not mount on effective immune response using traditional vaccines.

According to the latest preclinical data, CORVax12 induced a strong immune response in mouse models by leading to the production of anti-spike IgG antibodies, which can disrupt spike protein’s receptor-binding domain.

Furthermore, CORVax12 administered into tumour tissue yields a productive anti-viral response as well as robust anti-tumour response.

OncoSec chief scientific officer Christopher Twitty said: “We are encouraged by the potential of CORVax12 as a next-generation vaccine to facilitate a long-lasting immune response.

“Immune compromised patients, such as those with cancer, may benefit from a vaccine option that not only drives an anti-tumour response but also creates lasting immunity to SARS-CoV2 by boosting their immune systems to mount a defence against Covid-19.”

Earlier, OncoSec dosed the first patient in an investigator-initiated Phase II trial, OMS-104, of Tavo in combination with Opdivo (nivolumab) as a neoadjuvant therapy before surgery in patients with operable, locally, or regionally advanced melanoma.