Dr Gary Nabel, Director at the VRC (NIAID) gave an interested talk about Vaccine Research Center's strategic plan of fundamental achievements in immunology, virology and vaccine science that leads to the development of new and improved vaccines at the World Vaccine Congress Day 3
The Vaccine Research Center was created to address diseases like AIDS which have high burden but little commercial incentive to make vaccine development attractive to manufacturers.
Major advances in HIV vaccine research in last decade have been made in understanding the origin, structure and effect of the virus in a way that will inform vaccine development. We now have several human antibodies that neutralize more potently and with far more breadth than in the past, giving us multiple targets that could act synergistically.
According to Dr. Nabel, many of these learnings can be applied to improve influenza vaccine. The end goal would be to make a highly effective universal influenza vaccine.
Dr. Nabel says that the VRC is working on approaches that elicit a stronger response to influenza vaccine. One recently published strategy employed a prime boost approach. In this study, even a single injection of DNA, followed by vaccine boosting after six months vastly improved response.
Dr. Nabel said that the VRC is also interested in emerging infections and has begun research in a vaccine against Chikungunya, a mosquito borne virus. A CRADA has been established with Merck for advanced development of a CHIKV VLP vaccine and clinical collaborations in Southeast Asia are being established.
Dr. Nabel concluded that the VRC's main approach is to take what we learn from science, advance it into translation, test it clinically and then if it looks good advance towards licensure with partners.
Interesting presentation on vaccine research breakthroughs
Check back here in a couple of days for the presentation. Excellent presentation DrP Gary!