Researchers have announced the development of a platform that can deliver single-dose vaccines which will fully protect against emerging infectious diseases including Zika, Lassa fever, and Ebola. The announcement was made by GeoVax, an Atlanta-based clinical-stage biotechnology company, at the annual 2018 ASM Microbe
“Unlike other vaccine technologies currently available, which sacrifice confidence in success for speed or vice-versa, the GeoVax technology offers a true ‘Plug and Play’ platform approach that is well suited for use against a wide range of biological threats and amenable to rapid, large-scale production,” said, Rahul Basu, a scientist at GeoVax and lead author of the study, in a recent statement
According to the researchers, the vaccines are safe, highly immunogenic, and effective against multiple indications. Additionally, the vaccines are appropriate for repeated use, stable at refrigerator temperatures or lyophilized for non-cold chain needle-free application, and affordable for epidemic response and routine vaccination.
“A significant unmet medical need exists for vaccine platform technologies to respond rapidly and effectively against biological threats,” said Basu, “Preferably, such platforms should deliver vaccines that are safe and confer full protection after a single dose.”
GeoVax conducted proof-of-concept studies, supported by funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In the studies, the research team tested 3 independent vaccines against 3 different families of viruses in animals. As a result, each vaccine demonstrated full protection after a single dose in the following different lethal challenge models:
- MVA-Zika vaccine- a single vaccination in normal (immunocompetent) mice provided 100% protection against a lethal challenge dose of neurovirulent ZIKV delivered into the brain.
- MVA-VLP-Ebola vaccine candidate: a single vaccination provided full protection in a rhesus monkey lethal challenge model.
- MVA-VLP-LASV vaccine: a single vaccination protected mice against a lethal challenge delivered directly into the brain.
GeoVax is continuing to work on the development of prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines for other infectious diseases, including HIV. Preventive vaccines for Marburg, Sudan, and malaria—all of which have high epidemic potential—and therapeutic vaccines for hepatitis B infections and tumor-associated antigen based-cancer vaccines are also in the works.
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