Ebola, University of Siena in the forefront of international research for a vaccine
The heart of research for a vaccine against the Ebola is in the city of Siena, where a European project worth 15 million euro is about to be launched to test the immune response of a high number of adults and children to the VSV-ZEBOV vaccine, which is considered as one of the most promising vaccines against this virus globally.
The 5-year research project – called VSV-EBOPLUS – is funded under the European programme Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 (IMI2), a public-private partnership between the European Union and the European Federation of the Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). It is coordinated by Sclavo Vaccines Association with participation of the University of Siena.
“So far, the VSV-ZEBOV vaccine is the only one that has proved to be effective on adults. Therefore, through the new VSV-EBOPLUS project, it will be important to investigate the immunological aspects not only on adults but also, for the first time, on children, which constitute a particularly vulnerable part of the population” – said Professor Donata Medaglini, research project coordinator on behalf of the University of Siena and Sclavo Vaccines Association. “This study – continued Medaglini – which will be conducted on a large number of clinical samples from vaccinated individuals in several age groups and from different continents, will significantly boost the development and use of a safe and effective Ebola vaccine".
The specific aim of the project is to decipher the immuno- and molecular imprinting stimulated in adults and children by the VSV-ZEBOV vaccine, which is the only one that, in Phase III clinical trials, has already proven safe and effective against the disease caused by the Ebola virus.
The VSV-EBOPLUS project will be based on a number of clinical trials that have already been carried out in Europe, Africa, United States on approximately 1000 adults, adolescents and children. The research will also include a large quantity of biological samples that will be analysed, by means of innovative techniques and approaches to characterize the responses to VSV-ZEBOV vaccine.