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“Zika” European projects (2016)

We are pleased to inform you that IDMIT (CEA/DRF/iMETI) is part of 2 recently elected European projects dedicated to Zika virus: “ZIKAlliance” and “ZIKAVAX”.

Zika virus is an emerging mosquito-borne flavivirus. Although already isolated in 1947, to date there are no specific treatments nor any vaccines available against Zika virus disease, making it a truly neglected infectious disease. The recent rapid spread of the Zika virus in previously unaffected regions has provided strong epidemiological evidence that infection with this virus might be associated with neurological complications in adults and with an increase in severe congenital brain malformations of new-borns. Consequently, the World Health Organisation has declared the recent outbreak of the Zika virus a public health emergency.

ZIKAlliance is a 3-years “Research and Innovation action” (SC1-PM-22-2016), that aims at addressing the urgent research gaps against the Zika virus and other emerging threats in Latin America.

The three‐year multidisciplinary ZIKAlliance project will link large observational multicentre cohort studies with basic scientific research to address the above questions:

(i) with longstanding shared work experience on arboviral diseases in basic, clinical and applied sciences;

(ii) with an established network of clinical cohorts currently studying Dengue Fever in Latin America & the Caribbean;

(iii) guided by the principles of One Health approach to respond to the challenges of vector‐borne epidemics.

The consortium (53 groups, 9 European countries, 4 south-America countries, 2 Asian countries and 1 African partner) will focus on the following three key objectives:

Objective 1: impact of Zika virus infection during pregnancy and short & medium term effects on newborns

        Objective 2: natural history of Zika virus infection in humans and their environment in the context of other circulating arboviruses.

Objective 3: building the overall capacity for preparedness research for future epidemic threats in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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ZIKAVAX  is a 3-years “Research and Innovation action” (SC1-PM-06-2016), dedicated to the fast track development of a Zika vaccine based on measles vector.

The ZIKAVAX proposal has the objective to address this urgent public health issue by promoting the rapid development of a safe, effective, and affordable preventive vaccine against Zika virus infection. To achieve this goal, ZIKAVAX will use a delivery platform technology based on a measles vaccine vector with demonstrated proof of principle in humans and a preclinical track record of rapid adaptability and effectiveness for a variety of pathogens. The manufacturing process for these measles vector-based vaccines has been developed to give high yield and purity using standard equipment. In ZIKAVAX, following antigen selection and expression, immunisation studies will be conducted with the Zika vaccine candidate in mice and in a challenge model in non-human primates that will developed by the consortium. The ultimate goal of ZIKAVAX is the demonstration of safety and immunogenicity of a recombinant measles-Zika vaccine candidate in adult volunteers in a phase Ia clinical trial.

ZIKAVAX is driven by a strongly committed and effective consortium of four leading European organisations highly experienced in vaccine research and development. Its partners include the European Vaccine Initiative (Germany), Institut Pasteur (France), Themis Bioscience GmbH (Austria) and IDMIT within the Institute of Emerging Diseases and Innovative Therapies from the Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique (France).

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New Innovative Medicine Initiative (IMI) 2 project on the trail of next generation vaccines against pertussis (whooping cough)

We are pleased to inform you that the large-scale research initiative PERISCOPE (PERtussIS Correlates of Protection Europe) project (www.periscope-project.eu) dedicated to the improvement of the prophylactic vaccines and vaccination strategies for pertussis, has officially started on 1st of March 2016.

IDMIT (CEA) is part of the 22 partners consortium from 11 different countries that will investigate immune responses to maternal immunization. The information and technology generated by PERISCOPE will facilitate and expedite the development of new vaccines, not only by the consortium partners, but also by any international party with a stake in the subject.

Project summary

Pertussis vaccines have been very successful in reducing the global burden of pertussis-related disease. However, in the last decade there has been a rise in pertussis incidence, particularly in vaccinated adolescents and adults in industrialized countries. The increased circulation of B. pertussis (Bp) constitutes a risk for transmission to vulnerable infants and older adults. Additionally, immunity in humans has been shown to wane rapidly after immunization with pertussis vaccines, especially with acellular pertussis (aP) vaccines, suggesting that the improved reactogenicity profile of aP compared to whole cell pertussis vaccines, may be accompanied by differences in duration of immunity.

 Why do we need PERISCOPE?

  • Pertussis remains a leading cause of infant mortality in non-industrialized countries.
  • The incidence of pertussis is increasing in different age groups despite high coverage by aP vaccines
  • The number of infections with aP-antigen deficient strains is increasing
  • wP and aP vaccines show different profiles in terms of immunogenicity, reactogenicity and duration of immunity. The immune mechanisms underlying persistent protection are not well understood.
  • Maternal immunization offers effective protection to vulnerable infants. However, questions remain regarding the duration of protection and potential impact on the primary infant vaccination schedule.

What are the objectives of PERISCOPE?

  • Accelerating the development of improved vaccines against Bp and/or vaccination strategies that will be used to control B. pertussis in humans.
  • Fostering scientific innovation and rebuild the ecosystem and technical infrastructure needed in Europe to evaluate novel pertussis vaccine candidates.
  • Improving the understanding of the pathogenesis of B. pertussis infection and its potential impact on the recently observed changes in pertussis epidemiology
  • Identifying biomarkers of long lasting protective immunity to pertussis in humans
  • Investigating the impact of maternal vaccination on the infant response to pertussis vaccination

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SIVART cohort access

We are pleased to inform you that the SIVART project dedicated to implement a resource of NHP chronically infected with SIVmac251 and treated with long term ART is scheduled to start on 21st June 2016.

This resource is accessible to the scientific community for research programs. Twelve male cynomolgus macaques will be included in this project. Animals will be infected with a pathogenic stock of SIVmac251 and they will be treated by the combination of TDF, FTC and DTG, administered once a day by the oral route or the subcutaneous route. The treatment will be initiated at the week 16 of infection and will last for 1 to 2 years. Biological material collected at different time points of infection and treatment will be stored for further analysis. In addition, a larger tissue collection will be prepared at necropsy. The collection will be stored at the biological resource center (CRB) of IDMIT.

Requests for access to this cohort and derived biological material will be accepted all along the project. The requests will be evaluated by the steering committee of IDMIT infrastructure and by a scientific advisory board of independent experts. We will advise the applicants by e-mail of the feasibility of the project within 4 weeks after application.

Click here to download SIVART cohort application form

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Creation of a research center on immunology of chronic viral infections and autoimmune diseases “ImVA”

Since the first January 2015, the national infrastructure IDMIT is associated to the joint research center ImVA “Immunology of chronic viral infections and autoimmune diseases” that gathers research laboratories from INSERM, University Paris-Sud (Orsay) and CEA (Fontenay-aux-Roses).

For detailed information click on Center ImVA

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EUROMASTER in Vaccinology

2015: IDMIT is partner of a new Erasmus Mundus – Joint Master Degrees granted by EACEA, the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency of the European Commission, entitled “Leading International Vaccinology Education” (LIVE), is scheduled to start in 2016.

The general objective of the new LIVE program is to train the next generation of vaccinologists who will have to manage an increasing number of infectious and non-infectious vaccine targets for many important issues: unsolved and still emerging infectious diseases, immune-senescence in an era where there is exponential aging of the population, non-infectious but immune-related diseases (e.g. allergy, cancer and chronic inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis, obesity, diabetes, addictions…).

 LIVE students will develop a trans-national appreciation for vaccine issues by in-residence participation in educational activities in at least three different countries (Belgium, Spain and France) during the program. 

Further information on this unique program can be found at: “Leading International Vaccinology Education” (LIVE).

poster LIVE. pdf

LIVE flyer