Recipe for making COVID-19 vaccine in three days

In my previous post I gave a general outline as to how to make a COVID-19 vaccine in three days. Today I’d like to lay out the plan in fine detail. Pay attention. Everything you need to synthesize an effective COVID-19 vaccine is right here in this post. Of course, you’ll need a sterile, fully equipped immunochemistry lab with quality-control procedures in place to do it—but there are, after all, several thousand such labs around the world. You know who you are…

Take a moment to glance over the image above. It is the “formula” for my vaccine as they say in science fiction movies. However, this is documented science fact, as I explained in the previous post. The loop of circled amino acids represents a disembodied fragment of the virus’s surface “spike” protein. According to the Hopp and Woods computer method, this is THE most likely place for antibodies to bind the virus and kill it.

In this case, however, the fragment has been tamed and made to serve humanity rather than kill. Working clockwise down from the viral antigen loop at the top, you see a chemical linker, a maleimido-caproyl group that attaches the virus sequence to the other major component of the vaccine, diphtheria toxoid (DT).

Diphtheria toxoid is a component of the childhood vaccine, DPT, which gives long-lived immunity against the Corynebacterium diphtheriae microbe, whooping cough’s Bordetella pertussis bacterium, and lockjaw toxin made by Clostridium tetani. The DT protein component of that vaccine is a potent immunostimulant in its own right, and that’s why it’s been recruited for use with Hopp and Woods vaccines. As proteins go, it has the twin assets of being very foreign to the human body, and very large—by molecular standards. Both these qualities, foreignness and “bigness” result in the body getting a raging inflammatory reaction whenever it encounters DT. So a great way to deliver a Hopp and Woods peptide, which is a relatively small molecule, is to attach it to a big nasty monster molecule like DT. The attachment is made via the maleimido-caproyl link hooking on to one of the many “lysine” side chains of the DT molecule (lysine being the amino acid of food supplement fame, by the way).

So here’s an image of the full embodiment of a Hopp and Woods vaccine, in fact two examples. As you can see, the synthesis procedure hooks multiple copies of the vaccine peptide onto each single copy of the DT molecule. It is this rather dangerous looking thing that your white blood cells react to angrily when they encounter it.

There’s a reason why I’m showing two different DT conjugates here. Imagine that the blue-studded DT has the first peptide I showed above attached to it. There’s no reason a lab couldn’t make another, different piece of the virus and attach it to DT as well, to make a second version of the vaccine. Then, if you inject both simultaneously, you get double the chances of having a strong, protective antibody response.

Here’s a second immunogen I came up with. It was picked out by a souped-up version of my computerized analysis of the virus by what I call my HYDRO4 procedure (too much detail?). Anyway, you can see that the same mechanism of attaching to DT is used, but the peptide sequence is entirely different. It’s also not a loop, but rather a linear snake-like sequence of amino acids. I’ve used many looped and/or linear peptides over a long career of making such things, and I think both have their merits.

So, where do we go from here? I don’t have a peptide synthesizer anymore. If I had one, it would be running right now. Actually, it would have long since finished and we’d probably be dosing patients by now. But I’m retired and Hopp and Woods vaccines have languished through lack of interest by government funding agencies and corporate moguls. So here I sit, typing away. And there’s a certain power in that. I long ago published this whole concept in a work of fiction, my medical thriller novel The Smallpox Incident. In that story a biotech researcher who does have a peptide synthesizer gets infected by genetically altered smallpox virus in the hands of bioterrorists. He has to save himself (and humanity) by doing just what I’ve outlined above. So I foresaw the desperate, need-a-vaccine-yesterday scenario we find ourselves in now.

But truth can be stranger than fiction. With my novel as a guide to how to do it, I have been ready for this day to become a grim reality for nearly twenty years. Does anybody out there want to give this a try? This post gives you every bit of information you need to create a Hopp and Woods vaccine for COVID-19. All you need is a peptide synthesizer and a couple other pieces of scientific equipment in a sterile manufacturing environment. Then a vaccine could be in-hand—or in-arm—within a matter of days. Realistically, it would take a week or two to assure that the vaccine was made properly, and then much longer to get government agencies to approve the product for use in humans. But suppose they were tipped off the day you started the synthesis and they also worked day and night to provide the necessary approvals? It could be done.

Several people have gotten back to me suggesting I get in touch with this billionaire or that senator, or this foundation or that government agency. All I can tell you is I’ve been there done that for several other vaccines, long since. It’s a slow process. But I know that out there somewhere is someone with the lab facilities and the ability to make a batch of this vaccine–say, 20,000 doses, starting tonight.

And, be aware that I’ll have one more post on this subject coming in the next few days. I’ve learned several tricks on how to make very efficacious dose formulations to go into the syringe and I’ll gladly share those. Few people know how to soup up a vaccine like I do.

Truth is, I’m trying to reach past the government officials and gatekeepers to get to the people who can actually do this work. It’s a big world and there are many qualified vaccine production labs. So do us all a favor, folks. Pass this post along. Sooner or later (hopefully sooner) it will land in the right pair of hands.

This is Part Two of a three-part posting about the vaccine. Here are convenient links to:

About Tom Hopp

Thomas P Hopp is a scientist and author living in Seattle. He writes medical thrillers, natural disaster novels, and the Dinosaur Wars science fiction series.
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2 Responses to Recipe for making COVID-19 vaccine in three days

  1. Niaz Mirza says:

    Great idea. Did you discus the possibility of having a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine with authorities such as CDC?

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