SZIRAK, Hungary: In an unassuming house in rolling hills east of the Hungarian capital, a small family firm is helping oil the wheels of the world’s big pharmaceutical companies on the path to a coronavirus vaccine.Biologist Noemi Lukacs, 71, retired to Szirak, her birth village, to establish English & Scientific Consulting (SciCons) and manufacture a genetic sensor so sensitive that a few grams can supply the entire global industry for a year.”We produce monoclonal antibodies,” Lukacs told Reuters in the single-storey house where she was born, now partly converted into a world-class laboratory. The white powder ships worldwide from here, micrograms at a time.”These antibodies recognise double-stranded RNA (dsRNA),” she explained. DsRNA is a byproduct of viruses replicating, so its presence signals the presence of a live virus, long useful in virus-related research.More importantly, dsRNA is also a byproduct of the process used by U.S. giant Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech to create their experimental Covid-19 vaccine which is more than 90% effective according to initial trial results last week.And because dsRNA can be harmful to human cells, it has to be filtered out from any vaccine to be used in humans. Several filtering methods exist, but the most widely used… Read full this story
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