Scientists at the Rome-based Takis Biotech have tested the jab on mice and took the antibodies they made in response.
The early results from the lab tests show the antibodies created could stop human cells being infected with COVID-19.
Luigi Aurisicchio, chief executive at Takis Biotech, wants trials to begin in the autumn.
He said: “As far as we know we are the first in the world so far to have demonstrated a neutralisation of the coronavirus by a vaccine.”
But the Italian tests are still weeks behind the UK, with a team at Oxford University already trialing a coronavirus vaccine on humans, with plans to have millions of doses ready by September.
The scientists in Italy compared a single dose of five different vaccine candidates on mice at Spallanzani Hospital in the country’s capital, which involved injecting a small amount of cloned genetic code from coronavirus into the animals.
Researchers said each of the DNA-based vaccine candidates produced a “strong antibody response” against the virus in 14 days.
Antibodies were taken from vthe blood of the tested mice and then added to human cells that had been developed in a petri dish.
They were shown to be successful in preventing the virus from binding to, and subsequently infecting, the human cells.
Takis Biotech added two in particular were considered to be “the best candidates for a future clinical study”.
This is a breaking story. More to follow…