I am not a virologist, nor am I a researcher, but last week news on the development of a vaccine against SARS-CoV2 virus in Mexico using a recombinant Newcastle disease virus (NDV) really caught my attention. It is really something, not only because I am anxious for being vaccinated in this slow-motion vaccination program in Europe where I am, but because they are using something sourced from chickens.

Going through some reading, I found out that Newcastle disease virus (NDV) seems to be suitable as a vector for the expression and delivery of foreign genes for vaccination. It is a rather complicated topic - at least for me - but the fact that a recombinant Newcastle disease virus is used as a vaccine vector reflects human creativity and wisdom, that actually astonishes me.[BRL1] 

Well, all this wisdom and expertise to develop a COVID-19 vaccine is being used and improved by Avimex, a Mexican animal health lab with almost 70 years of worldwide-recognized experience in R&D on their shoulders, developing and manufacturing millions of vaccines for poultry and other species. Avimex is using technology developed by Dr. Peter Palese and other researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine in Mount Sinai (New York). This Mexican lab has collaborated with Mount Sinai in developing vet vaccines based on rNDV since 2003. Just recently, Avimex obtained a license from Mount Sinai to use this rNDV technology to develop a vaccine against COVID-19.

The stabilization technology of SARS CoV spike glycoprotein (S) used by Avimex was developed and licensed by the University of Texas. Researchers at that university have been developing these techniques for years! The spike glycoprotein is a main target for neutralization antibody. It binds to its receptor, and mediates membrane fusion and the final virus entry.

In any event, I do not want to get into more details but I just wanted to highlight the science behind this, the fact that a Mexican animal health lab, very well-known in the Latin American poultry industry has embarked on this development. All this will result in great benefits for the country, and maybe other countries in the region and beyond.

One last thing: Avimex's CEO, Dr. Bernardo Lozano was inducted a member of the Latin American Poultry Hall of Fame[BRL2] , in Buenos Aires, Argentina, during the Latin American Poultry Congress in 2011.

What do you think?

 [BRL1]Does this verb have a positive aspect?