VSV-EBOVAC

Vaccine safety and immunogenicity signatures of human responses to VSV-ZEBOV
VSV-EBOVAC logo

FACTS & FIGURES

Start Date
End Date
Call
IMI2 - Call 2
Grant agreement number
115842

Contributions
IMI Funding
3 887 260
EFPIA in kind
0
Other
898 750
Total Cost4 786 010

Summary

VSV-EBOVAC builds on existing work to advance the development of the Ebola vaccine candidate VSV-ZEBOV (‘vesicular stomatitis virus-vectored Zaire Ebola vaccine’). Clinical trials are underway in Europe and Africa, and the VSV-EBOVAC project is using cutting-edge technologies to carry out in-depth analyses of samples taken from clinical trial participants before and after vaccination. This allows them to gather vital information on both the strength of the immune responses triggered by the vaccine and vaccine safety.

There are currently no licensed vaccines for Ebola. However, there are a number of vaccine candidates in development. VSV-EBOVAC is one of three projects in the IMI Ebola+ programme that will generate the data needed to assess the safety and immunogenicity of different vaccine candidates and the level and duration of protection they actually offer against the disease.

VSV-EBOVAC builds on existing work to advance the development of the Ebola vaccine candidate VSV-ZEBOV (‘vesicular stomatitis virus-vectored Zaire Ebola vaccine’). The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified VSV-ZEBOV as one of the most promising Ebola vaccine candidates, and clinical trials are already underway in Europe and Africa. The VSV-EBOVAC project is using cutting-edge technologies to carry out in-depth analyses of samples taken from clinical trial participants before and after vaccination. This allows them to gather vital information on both the strength of the immune responses triggered by the vaccine and vaccine safety.

A part of the Ebola+ Programme

The IMI Ebola+ programme was launched in response to the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak that started in western Africa in 2014. The comprehensive programme contributes to efforts to tackle a wide range of challenges in Ebola research, including vaccines development, clinical trials, and transport, as well as diagnostics. The programme complements work being carried out with the support of other funding bodies. In addition to Ebola, the programme will also address related diseases, such as Marburg.

About Ebola and related diseases

Ebola virus disease (EVD), previously known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus strains. The virus spreads in the human population through direct human-to-human contact with the bodily fluids of infected patients who are showing symptoms. It has an incubation period of 2-21 days, and it usually begins with flu-like symptoms, but rapidly progresses to multiple organ failure and blood-clotting abnormalities which manifest as internal and external haemorrhages (bleeding). It is fatal in between 25% and 90% of cases. There is currently no licensed treatment against EVD, and the development of treatments and preventive measures such as vaccines is hampered by challenges including manufacturing-related hurdles, the stability of vaccines during transport and storage, vaccine deployment, and the time taken to diagnose cases of EVD.

Ebola is a member of the filovirus family of viruses, which also includes Marburg virus. Like Ebola, Marburg causes cause severe, often fatal haemorrhagic fever in humans and other primates (monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees), and like Ebola, it is transmitted directly from one person to another. (In contrast, other viruses that cause haemorrhagic fevers are spread via intermediate hosts - for example, dengue fever is transmitted by mosquitoes.) There is no specific treatment or vaccine against Marburg haemorrhagic fever.

The 2014-15 Ebola epidemic was unprecedented in its scale and geographical distribution. By the middle of 2015, World Health Organization (WHO) statistics recorded over 27 000 cases and 11 000 deaths from the disease, most of them in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The epidemic highlighted the need for research into better vaccines, diagnostics and treatments to stop future epidemics in their tracks.

Achievements & News

VSV-EBOVAC identifies signature of promising Ebola vaccine
May 2017

How exactly does our immune system respond to vaccination? In the first study of its kind, scientists from IMI’s VSV-EBOVAC project, studying a promising Ebola vaccine, set out to find out which immune cells get activated early on, which inflammatory markers are released after that, and how this early activity later impacts the production of antibodies against the Ebola virus.### In the process, they discovered a unique signature of a promising Ebola vaccine candidate which could not only help predict adverse reactions and the effectiveness of this vaccine, but also inform the development of vaccines for other diseases as well. ‘These findings are important and indeed ground-breaking,’ said Claire-Anne Siegrist of the University of Geneva, the project's scientific coordinator. ‘No signature for this vaccine or any other Ebola vaccine has been previously identified. On a clinical level, this plasma signature can serve as a biological clue (biomarker) to anticipate and determine common side effects and the ability of our bodies to produce protective antibodies against the Ebola virus.’ The findings, which were published in the prestigious journal Science Translational Medicine, wouldn’t have been possible without IMI, she added. ‘The public-private nature of the project was tremendously important in achieving these results. In addition to academic partners, representatives of the vaccine manufacturers played a very important role in the study.’

Participants Show participants on map

Universities, research organisations, public bodies, non-profit groups
  • (UK) Department of Health, Leeds, United Kingdom
  • Academisch Ziekenhuis Leiden - Leids Universitair Centrum, Leiden, Netherlands
  • Eberhard Karls Universitaet Tuebingen, Tuebingen, Germany
  • Eidgenössisches Department für Verteidigung, Bevölkerungsschutz und Sport , Bern, Switzerland
  • Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
  • Goeteborgs Universitet, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Sclavo Vaccine Association, Siena, Italy
  • Universita' Degli Studi Di Siena, Siena, Italy
  • University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Université de Genève, Genève 4, Switzerland
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-sized companies (<€500 m turnover)
  • Microbiotec SRL, Siena, Italy
Patient organisations
  • Centre de Recherches Medicales de Lambaréné, Lambaréné, Gabon
Third parties
  • Centre de Recherches Medicales de Lambaréné, Lambaréné, Gabon
Non EFPIA companies
  • BioProtection Systems/NewLink Genetics Corp, Ames, United States

CONTACT

Project coordinator
Donata Medaglini
Sclavo Vaccines Association
donata.medaglini[at]unisi.it
Scientific Coordinator
Claire-Anne Siegrist
University of Geneva
Tel.:+41 223795781
claire-anne.siegrist[at]unige.ch
Project Manager
Luisa Borgianni
Sclavo Vaccines Association
vsv-ebovac[at]sclavo.org