IISc Bengaluru comes up with warm vaccine against current strains of SARS-CoV-2

News excerpt: 

A heat-tolerant vaccine developed by the IISc researchers is said to be effective against all current strains of SARS-CoV-2 and can be quickly adapted for future variants as well.

Past Development: 

  • Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have been working on developing a heat-tolerant vaccine that can offer protection against different strains of SARS-CoV-2 – both current and future variants.
  • Researchers have reported the design of a synthetic antigen that can be manufactured as a potential COVID-19 vaccine candidate in npj vaccine magazine.


  • Viruses like SARS-CoV-2 continuously evolve as changes in the genetic code (caused by genetic mutations or viral recombination) occur during replication of the genome.
  • SARS-CoV-2 has consistently mutated over the course of the pandemic, resulting in variants that are different from the original SARS-CoV-2 virus.
  • Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many variants of SARS-CoV-2 have been found in the United States and globally.
  • Scientists use multiple classification systems to describe and communicate similarities and differences between SARS-CoV-2 viruses.

Process applied in inventing Vaccine:

  • After analyzing various proteins found in the virus, the researchers selected two parts of SARS-CoV-2’s spike protein – the S2 subunit and the Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) – for designing their vaccine candidate. 
  • The S2 subunit is highly conserved and mutates much less than the S1 subunit, which is the target of most current vaccines. 
  • Scientists have also known that the RBD can provoke a strong immune response in the host. Therefore, the team created a hybrid protein called RS2 by combining these two components.
  • The researchers used mammalian cell lines to study the expression of the hybrid protein.

Importance of the vaccine: 

  • Researchers have shown that their vaccine is effective against all current strains of SARS-CoV-2, and can be quickly adapted for future variants as well.
  • The research found that the hybrid protein triggered a strong immune response and provided better protection when compared to vaccines containing the whole spike protein.
  • It can also be stored at 37⁰ Celsius for a month without the need for cold storage.
  • Trials show it can withstand limited exposure to temperatures as high as 100⁰ Celsius.
  • According to IISc, the RS2 antigen can also be stored at room temperature for a month without the need for cold storage, unlike many vaccines in the market which require mandatory cold storage. 
  • This would make the distribution and storage of these vaccine candidates much more economical, making it well suited for combating COVID-19 in a tropical country like India where transportation and cold storage is generally expensive.


The COVID-19 virus is constantly mutating and evolving, the hybrid makeup of the vaccine allows for room to quickly tailor it to any new variant of SARS-CoV-2 that might be more virulent.

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