NIH Announces Vaccine Protected Monkeys Against Hemorrhagic Fever Viruses

November 8, 2019
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

Scientists from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and Profectus BioSciences of New York have developed the candidate quadrivalent VesiculoVax vaccine, an investigational vaccine that protected monkeys against four types of hemorrhagic fever viruses endemic to overlapping regions in Africa.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced on Nov. 8, 2019 that scientists from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and Profectus BioSciences of New York have developed the candidate quadrivalent VesiculoVax vaccine, an investigational vaccine that protected monkeys against four types of hemorrhagic fever viruses endemic to overlapping regions in Africa.

According to NIH, a study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation outlines the creation of the vaccine using a weakened vesicular stomatitis virus to deliver proteins that elicit protective immune responses. The proteins delivered included the Ebola virus (Kikwit strain), the Sudan virus (Boniface strain), the Marburg virus (Angola strain), and the Lassa virus (Josiah strain).

NIH-funded scientists administered a primary and booster dose of the vaccine to 20 monkeys. The animals had five blood draws and then were infected with four different hemorrhagic fever viruses and monitored to day 112 of the study. Twelve additional monkeys were also infected but were not vaccinated.

Out of the 20 vaccinated monkeys, only one of the animals had any of the four hemorrhagic fever viruses detectible after the study concluded. The 12 unvaccinated monkeys all became sick, according to the study.

The scientists now plan to further vaccine test subjects against other strains of Lassa virus to evaluate whether a single-dose quadrivalent vaccine appears safe and effective.

Source: NIH