As we enter the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccinations provide hope that the world will soon be back to normal. Vaccines that are based upon messenger RNA (mRNA) technology require two shots spaced several weeks apart for optimal efficacy. Therefore, the Seeker is interested in a new vaccine formulation that confers the same level of protection with a single injection.
Vaccines work by training the immune system to recognize pathogens. Unlike traditional vector vaccines that are based upon modified forms of a live virus, mRNA vaccines contain instructions that allow the host cell to produce and display a harmless spike protein on its surface, thus triggering an antibody response. The mRNA is degraded after the protein is expressed and there is no risk for infection as may be the case with an attenuated vaccine. The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines must be stored at low temperatures due to limited stability and two doses are administered to prime and boost the immune system. To simplify the vaccination process, the Seeker is interested in an improved formulation to eliminate the need for a second dose.
This is a Theoretical Challenge that requires only a written proposal to be submitted. The Challenge award will be contingent upon theoretical evaluation of the proposal by the Seeker.
To receive an award, the Solvers will have to transfer their exclusive intellectual property (IP) rights to the Seeker. However, the Seeker will be willing to consider a licensing agreement for a partial award if exclusive IP cannot be transferred by the Solver.