The research, co-led by Dr David Sancho, scientists from IdiPAZ (Hospital La Paz research institute) and CNB-CSIC (National Centre for Biotechnology), had the backing of Banco Santander through its Fondo Solidario Juntos (Solidarity fund), which supports solutions to the pandemic.

Dr David Sancho: “Immunotherapy with MV130 will help boost the efficacy of vaccines, especially in certain groups and against variants that are more resistant to inoculation”.

Madrid, 30 November 2021.
Research led by Dr David Sancho of the Spanish National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC) and funded by Banco Santander through its Fondo Solidario Juntos (created in 2020 to support initiatives in the fight against the pandemic) has found that MV130, an immunotherapy based on nasal injection of an inactive bacterium, prevents death by coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in animals and boosts the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines.

This form of immunotherapy primes the innate immune system by inducing epigenetic changes in innate immune cells, as Dr Sancho (CNIC head of Immunobiology) has shown in other trials.

Vaccines “train” the immune system to combat the virus through the so-called “immune memory”. Until a few years ago, it was thought that adaptive immunity was the only type that had a memory (the ability to recognize pathogens — viruses, bacteria, etc. — and send a response to protect cells), while innate immunity (non-specific) did not: “We now know that we can ‘train’ innate immunity to trigger a better response to new, unrelated infections, like with bacteria to protect against viral infections such as SARS-CoV-2. What's more, such training will stand the test of time”, Dr Sancho explained.

That’s why, he says, “strengthening the innate immune system with MV130 will bolster Covid-19 vaccines”.

MV130 was developed by Spanish company Immunotek, S.L. It contains several inactive bacteria and has proven effective in clinical trials on adults and children with chronic respiratory diseases. The latest trials that Banco Santander is co-financing show that it can be used against viral infections like SARS-CoV-2 in animals and, therefore, can boost the vaccines’ ability to trigger an immune response.

The project, financed by Banco Santander and also involving researchers from IdiPAZ and CNB-CSIC, lasted just over a year and is a significant breakthrough in the fight against coronavirus, which is showing no signs of disappearing fast.

Fondo Solidario Juntos

Banco Santander created a solidarity fund last year to help finance and run research initiatives in the fight against Covid-19 and the effects of the pandemic on the most vulnerable groups. To date, many have had excellent results.

About CNIC

Led by Dr Valentín Fuster, the Spanish National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC) aims to enhance cardiovascular research and translate it into improved patient care. It is recognized as a Centro de Excelencia Severo Ochoa (Severo Ochoa Centre of excellence) for its work. The Center is funded by a pioneering public-private initiative between the Government of Spain (through the Institute of Health Carlos III) and Fundación Pro CNIC (funded by 12 leading Spanish companies).