Trivalent Lassa, Ebola and Marburg viral vaccine (Tri-LEMvac)

Funding: Innovate UK
Duration: May 2017 – April 2018

Outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever viruses occur again and again especially in West and Central Africa, with often rapidly increasing case numbers and significant morbidity and mortality (e.g. West African Ebola outbreak in 2014/2015). Of special concern are the filoviruses Ebola virus (EBOV) and Marburg virus (MARV), and the arenavirus Lassa virus (LASV).
A single vaccine protecting from these three viruses would be highly desirable not only for outbreak responses but – given economically viable production – also for prevention in regions where these viruses are endemic. As poxvirus vaccines proved to be very efficient regarding manufacturability, distribution, administration and efficacy in the smallpox eradication campain, the Tri-LEMvac consortium is dedicated to developing a heterologous vaccine candidate based on the licensed Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA) smallpox vaccine as delivery vector for antigens from LASV, EBOV, and MARV ("Tri-LEM").
Within the current project, the Tri-LEMvac team will work together to generate the vaccine prototype and test it in preclinical models for immunogenicity and efficacy in Ebola- and Lassa-challenge-models.

The Wagner lab contribution to the project encompasses gene design and synthesis of the prototype antigens, as well as the generation and characterization of the MVA vaccine vectors.

Further analyses and the preclinical evaluation will be done in cooperation with Prof. Jonathan Heeney (project coordinator) and Simon Frost (University of Cambridge), Miles Carroll (Public Health England), and Edward Wright (University of Sussex).