When predicting the weather, experts will use informatics tools. These models are used in such a way that we then make decisions and plans based on the output information, and can often avoid getting caught-out by severe storms or take advantage of good weather as a result.
So why not use more of these tools in vaccine design?
EpiVax has been asking this exact question for a number of years, and have developed computational immunogenicity tools such as iVax and FastVax to help vaccine developers apply, evaluate and improve vaccines.
EpiVax believe that these computational vaccinology tools will accelerate vaccine design and development, and will bring about superior vaccines as they are genome-derived and epitope-driven. They already have proof of principle established in animal models for vaccines against tularemia, Vaccinia and H. pylori and believe the technology can easily apply to the vaccines which are critical for human health and biodefence.
Given the increase in speed of development, the vaccines are primed for use in a pandemic or when disease is spreading rapidly, and so they are putting it to the test in race to develop an effective Ebola vaccine.
Of Ebola Annie De Groot, their CSO, CEO and Director, said a “shift in the vaccine development paradigm…is needed to address emerging infectious disease threats.” Key to this is that we can no longer wait 10-20 years for a vaccine to be developed for a very specific area, rather we should be seeking vaccine platforms that are safe and effective, which can be tailored to different disease areas when the threat occurs.
Dr De Groot will be speaking at the Emerging and Re-Emerging Disease Conference as part of the World Vaccine Congress in April. As well as talking specifically about their work on an Ebola vaccine, she will “highlight recent discoveries – such as the concept of “immune camouflage” – pathogens adopting ‘human-like’ protein sequences to escape immune response.”
See the website for more information on the Emerging and Re-Emerging Disease Conference and the full World Vaccine Congress details.
Photo by Jorge Franganillo.