Emerging Viral Vaccine Antigen Insert Consortium

Funding: Innovate UK
Duration: September 2016 – August 2017

Zoonotic transmission of highly virulent filoviruses can rapidly lead to public health crises, as emphasized by the recent West African Ebola outbreak in 2014/2015 that killed more than 10000 people. An important countermeasure in such cases would be an efficacious vaccine, but the time scales for vaccine development starting from isolation of a prototypic outbreak virus to clinical safety trials is overly long in such situations.
Thus, the EVAC team is setting up a new vaccine technology platform to generate vaccine prototypes that are designed for elicitation of broadly protective responses towards diverse filoviruses including possibly new strains. The development is based on integrating sequence data of outbreak pathogens, broadly neutralising monoclonal antibody reactivity profiles, computational modelling methodologies, gene synthesis technology and in vivo immune selection and vaccine efficacy readouts.
The Wagner lab contribution to the project encompasses the gene design and synthesis of the novel prototype antigens, generation of vaccine vectors and production of DNA vaccines for immunogenicity and efficacy tests in animal models.

Crystal structure of the Ebola virus glycoprotein viewed from top (drawn from pdb 5KEL)