The devastating Ebola outbreak that struck western Africa in 2014-2016 left over 11 000 dead, including many medical workers. The outbreak highlighted the urgent need for safe, effective vaccines against the highly infectious disease.
There are a number of promising Ebola vaccines in development, and studies suggest that they are both safe and effective. Nevertheless, their large-scale deployment could be limited by issues such as the fact that they need to be stored at extremely low temperatures (-80°C). The goal of the PEVIA project is to develop second generation Ebola vaccines based on the proteins found on the surface of the virus. The project team is using the prime-boost approach, in which one vaccine is given to prime the immune system, and a second (different) vaccine is given to boost the immune response. The project hopes that the resulting regimen will be better suited to large-scale vaccination programmes in sub-Saharan countries, most notably because it will not require storage at low temperatures. In addition, PEVIA aims to develop innovative tools and methods to facilitate the development of new vaccine candidates for Ebola and related diseases, as well as novel diagnostic tests that can be deployed in the field.