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Speaker Dr Lexi Walls, Head of Vaccine Development, Veesler lab, University of Washington
Title Rationally designing broad and potent sarbecovirus therapeutics
Host Julien Bergeron
Abstract The COVID-19 pandemic has shattered our global understanding of viruses and altered the development of anti-viral therapeutics. To combat this pandemic, we utilized structure-based design principles to generate a nanoparticle protein subunit vaccine that has passed phase III clinical trials and is awaiting EUA approval in South Korea. We have identified a phylogenetic approach to broaden this nanoparticle vaccine to all known sarbecoviruses, with the goal of preventing current variants, future ones, and potential future sarbecovirus spillover events. Finally, therapeutics to stop transmission are currently lacking in the worldwide pandemic based-responses, so we designed multivalent-protein based minibinders that, so far, are variant proof and prevent infection in mice when given intranasally. Taken together, these approaches provide motivation for rational design of diverse antiviral therapeutics for a broad range of applications (i.e. vaccine, monoclonal antibodies, minibinders, etc.) and can and should be applied outside of coronaviruses to all viruses with pandemic potential.