The OPENCORONA consortia is developing a vaccine that protects against SARS-CoV-2 infection and/or disease in a phase I clinical trial.


12 June, 2023.

Covid-19 vaccine that can cope with mutated viruses in clinical phase 1 study at Karolinska University Hospital.,c3785183

Illustration of corona virus.
corona Photo: Getty Images

Several human coronavirus immunotherapy or vaccines have been developed, mainly based on the Spike protein. Genetic analysis shows that the SARS-CoV-2 envelope and receptor binding domain only has a 75% homology with other human coronaviruses, and mutations accumulate in this region. We therefore look at including additional viral proteins that are more genetically conserved. We use the DNA vaccine platform which is a rapid and robust vaccine platform. We generated several chimeric SARS-CoV-2 genes and have selected for the most potent DNA vaccine candidate delivered by in vivo electroporation that protects against SARS-CoV-2 disease in animal models. We have now taken this vaccine to phase I clinical testing.

The partners in the consortium have done this before and all know-how for reliable development is present. KI and FoHM developed the vaccine candidates and infectious models, JLU tested candidates for over-activation of innate immunity, IGEA provided a CE marked device for in vivo electroporation in humans. Northx have produced HQ plasmid for the toxicological studies and GMP plasmid for the phase I clinical study, Adlego/Scantox has performed toxicological testing according to GLP, and Karolinska wrote the IB (Investigator’s brochure) and IMPD (Investigational Medicinal Products Dossier), and obtained ethics committee and EMA. A phase I clinical trial of the vaccine in healthy volunteers is ongoing.


Graphic illustration of the timeline for the OpenCorona project.
Timeline for the OpenCorona project. Photo: Lars Frelin


Prof. DDS. PhD Matti Sällberg

Prof. Dr. Friedman Weber

Prof. Ali Mirazimi

Dr Matteo Cadossi

Site Manager Lars Fahlander

Dr Urban Höglund

Katja Tobin, Soo Aleman



Project number: 101003666


Budget: 3 000 000€

More information about Opencorona.


The SARS-CoV-2 N Protein Is a Good Component in a Vaccine.
Ahlén G, Frelin L, Nikouyan N, Weber F, Höglund U, Larsson O, Westman M, Tuvesson O, Gidlund EK, Cadossi M, Appelberg S, Mirazimi A, Sällberg M,
J Virol 2020 Aug;94(18):

Imaging of SARS-CoV-2 infected Vero E6 cells by helium ion microscopy.
Frese N, Schmerer P, Wortmann M, Schürmann M, König M, Westphal M, Weber F, Sudhoff H, Gölzhäuser A
Beilstein J Nanotechnol 2021 ;12():172-179

Inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 by type I and type III interferons.
Felgenhauer U, Schoen A, Gad HH, Hartmann R, Schaubmar AR, Failing K, Drosten C, Weber F
J Biol Chem 2020 Oct;295(41):13958-13964

A universal SARS-CoV DNA vaccine inducing highly cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies and T cells.
Appelberg S, Ahlén G, Yan J, Nikouyan N, Weber S, Larsson O, Höglund U, Aleman S, Weber F, Perlhamre E, Apro J, Gidlund EK, Tuvesson O, Salati S, Cadossi M, Tegel H, Hober S, Frelin L, Mirazimi A, Sällberg M
EMBO Mol Med 2022 Oct;14(10):e15821
Raw data to EMBO Mol Med paper - Figure 1-3)

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This project is sponsored by the European Union.

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