Rise Up: CU Boulder Bets on Baker’s Yeast For Universal Vaccine
'Getting baked in Boulder' just took on a whole new meaning, as researchers are 'stoked' about how the yeast's characteristics can help to attack viruses.
'Hippies,' was the first thing I said when I heard the Colorado University at Boulder is using baker's yeast in researching new vaccines, but It does sound smart and promising, in vaccinating against COVID-19 variants as well as other viruses.
It sounds like a 'why haven't they thought of this, sooner?' thing, to me, as researchers at CU Boulder have created a format that will give scientists a huge head start in creating vaccines, thanks to baker's yeast.
The yeast rises very quickly, as most people know. Viruses, like Coronavirus-19, can change quickly as well, creating variants. So antibodies that go after that initial virus come across this variant and ignore it because it doesn't match the picture they have in their wallet. 'This is not the virus you're looking for,' you might say.
By using that 'quick rising' makeup of that yeast, they've created a modified yeast, that they mapped 'spike proteins' for SARS-CoV-2 onto its surface (SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that can lead to COVID-19.) By doing so, they were able to see, much, much faster, the mutations (variants) of the virus.
The CU team was then able to track down which mutations evaded antibodies, thereby narrowing the amount of work needed; only vaccinations/antibodies that evaded the current antibodies need to be studied to find their antibody.
The platform can be used for viruses such as HIV and influenza, as well. The team will be making the platform Universal, meaning it will be available to all so that the entire world can contain COVID-19 and other viruses.
Baker's yeast. Who would have thought, right?
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