A phase one trial of a multivariant COVID-19 Vaccine has been launched by US pharmaceutical company Gritstone in collaboration with The University of Manchester and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Report informs, citing foreign media.

Initially involving participants aged 60+, its creators say the drug – called GRT-R910 – can boost the immune response of first-generation COVID-19 vaccines to a wide array of variants of Sars-Cov-2, which cause COVID-19. Part of Gritstone’s CORAL program, GRT-R910 is a self-amplifying mRNA second generation SARS-CoV-2 vaccine – or SAM for short, which delivers antigens from both the spike and non-spike proteins.

SAM vaccines, say its creators, may offer the opportunity of lowering vaccine doses or eliminate the need of repeat administrations – with the potential to safely drive strong, durable and broad immune responses across SARS-CoV-2 variants.

SAM vaccines work by inducing special immune cells (CD8+ T cells), an important arm of the body’s immune response to viruses, as well as antibodies that can neutralise the virus and prevent it binding to and infecting cells. It is hoped that this will offer potential for robust and persistent immunity, which includes at-risk and older populations.

The trial will take place at the NIHR Manchester Clinical Research Facility at Manchester Royal Infirmary, part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT).