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As the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic continues to spread all around the world, the VRI is joining the global health emergency to accelerate research on the virus
and development of a vaccine. With its expertise against HIV and emerging infectious diseases, including Ebola recently, the VRI engages all its teams on scientific
research against COVID-19.

The VRI engages its researchers, its partners, recognized worldwide in the fields of infectious diseases, vaccinology, immunology, data sciences, its advanced technologies
and its network in France, Europe and the USA, to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

See the press released


A post-doctoral position on Antibody responses induced by DC-targeting vaccines, a joined VRI immunology program between the Inserm VRI team of Dr Sylvain Cardinaud in Créteil and the Inserm CIML/CIPHE team of Dr Malissen in Marseille is opened. The postdoctoral candidate will take part of the research program that will be performed at CIML/CIPHE site.

We are looking for a qualified and motivated Ph.D. in immunology. The candidate should have a strong experience in flow cytometry and immune functional assays. Excellent technical skills, strong motivation, autonomy and ability to quickly and effectively develop the proposed project in relation with the group leaders and collaborators will be essential. Validated training for animal experimentation is mandatory.


The Ebola virus epidemic in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the most serious ever seen in the world, after the 2014 epidemic in West Africa. Despite efforts by Congolese authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO), the response to the epidemic is being hampered by several factors, including the difficult security situation.

In view of this very troubling situation, France is determined to increase its contribution to international efforts. During his visit to the DRC on May 20, Minister for Europe and International Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian announced the revival of a long-term bilateral partnership, in which the health sector, and especially the fight against the Ebola epidemic, would be a priority. In this connection, the minister appointed Professor Yves Lévy as special envoy in charge of directing and monitoring every aspect of the French response, especially stepped-up support for NGOs on the ground, development efforts, and support for science and research in conjunction with all relevant French ministries and entities, along with continuing our support for the health sector in the DRC.

A well-known specialist in immunology who is the former CEO of the National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM) and CEO of Vaccine Research Institute, Professor Lévy will assume this position on a voluntary basis.


16 July 2019

On April 4, 2019 took place the Day of translational research - Vaccine & HBV/HIV at Institut Pasteur in Paris.

A full-day mini-symposium dedicated to translational research. This event is organised since 2015 by the Centre de recherche Translationnelle and was organised since 2007 by the former Center for Human Immunology now part of the center.

Geneviève Chêne from Inserm and University of Bordeaux presented The European Joint action on vaccination.

Yves Lévy From VRI, presented HIV cure, the vaccinal approach and participated to the the Round table on « HBV/HIV cure: Progress and Pitfalls? » moderated by Hélène Strick-Marchand with Ulrike Protzer, Fabien Zoulim, Asier Saez-Cirion, Lisa Chakrabarti, Hugues Fischer (Act Up Paris).

Scientists have discovered that 2 years after infection, West African Ebola survivors exhibit memory immune responses—including specific T cells against Ebola virus. They believe their discovery opens up the possibility of improving Ebola vaccines by boosting key immune cells needed for long-lasting protective immunity.

The new research is being presented at this year’s European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) in Amsterdam, Netherlands (13–16 April).

“Ebola survivors’ immune responses could help to determine which kind of immune responses have to be induced by a vaccine to efficiently fight the virus”, says Dr Aurelie Wiedemann from the Vaccine Research Institute, Creteil, France who led the research. “Our findings indicate which specific immune responses are persisting in survivors a long time after infection”

T cells are a key component of antiviral immune responses in addition to the antibody-producing cells, but little is known about T cell responses to Ebola virus disease.

This is the first time that Ebola disease-specific responses in T cells have been demonstrated in human survivors 2 years after infection, researchers say.

The 2013–2016 outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa was the largest Ebola outbreak in history—with an estimated 28,616 cases identified, resulting in 11,310 deaths in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. More than 10,000 people infected with Ebola virus survived.

Previous research indicates that robust immune responses are associated with a better prognosis in individuals with Ebola virus disease. However, prevention efforts have been limited by the lack of knowledge about how to generate a protective immune response against this virulent pathogen. Correlates of protection that should be induced by an efficient vaccine are still not known in Ebola Virus disease.

To provide more evidence, Wiedemann and colleagues examined how the immune system responded to Ebola virus disease 2 years after infection in 35 adult survivors (median age 30 years) from the PostEboGui study—an observational cohort of 802 survivors of the 2013–2016 Ebola outbreak recruited in Guinea who have been declared clear of the virus.

The researchers analysed blood samples to characterise the T-cell (helper) and cytotoxic T-cells (that destroy infected cells that produce the virus) response to Ebola virus glycoprotein in these survivors. They also used gene expression profiling to compare the blood of Ebola virus disease survivors and a control group of 39 Guineans (median age 25 years) without a history of Ebola virus disease.

Compared to control individuals, all survivors exhibited Ebola specific immunoglobulin-G (IgG) antibodies testifying to their past Ebola disease.  Analysis of blood markers showed that survivors have persistent inflammation more than 2 years after healing. This status may also explain some long-term clinical symptoms (eg, headache, fatigue, muscle pain, joint pain) described in these subjects.

In-vitro stimulation of mononuclear cells from survivors with Ebola antigens revealed the presence of memory T cells capable of producing cytokines (molecules produced by cells of the immune system in response to a pathogen), suggesting that these cells might be able to control and/or clear Ebola virus.

Further analysis showed that the gene expression profile of these survivors differed from healthy individuals. The authors speculate that further in-depth analysis of these genes could provide clues to factors associated with better clinical outcomes in Ebola-infected individuals.    

“Our study of Ebola virus disease survivors could provide critical data to develop strategies for mimicking the resilience which some individuals have demonstrated after being infected, and help to better identify a correlate of protection against Ebola virus disease”, says Dr Wiedemann.

Dr Aurelie Wiedemann, Vaccine Research Institute, Creteil, France T) +33 149813735 E) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Alternative Contact in the ECCMID Press Room: Tony Kirby T) + 44 (0)7834 385827 E) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Notes to editors: The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

This press release is based on mini-oral e-poster presentation 1225 at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID). The material has been peer reviewed by the congress selection committee. There is no full paper at this stage, but the authors are happy to answer your questions. The study has not yet been submitted to a journal for publication.

For full abstract, click here

For full poster, click here

The government announced on February 8, 2019 by a joint statement of Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, and Guillaume Boudy, Secretary General for Investment his decision to extend for 5 years the VRI - Labex Vaccine Research Institute following the positive evaluation carried out by the international jury.

Created in 2011 in the first wave of the “programme d’investissement d’avenir” (PIA1), the VRI has implemented a new and innovative vaccinology approach via “reprogramming” the immune system through the development of vaccines based on the most recent knowledge of basic immunology, innovative route of vaccination and/or combined prime boost strategy, and an integrated approach for the high-fidelity evaluation of vaccine/immunomodulatory strategies.

As highlighted by the ANR international jury, the VRI has reached key objectives: i) the development of innovative vaccines from discovery concepts to in vitro validation and basic knowledge; ii) the development of new strategies from preclinical models to phase I/II clinical trials; iii) the set-up of innovative technological platforms to evaluate these vaccines strategies; iv) a Master 2 degree program for dissemination of vaccine knowledge at national and European level and the participation to a graduate school in Digital Public Health (Bordeaux University).

This integrated program led us to select for manufacturing the first generation of DC-based vaccines that will enter phase I/II clinical trials in 2019, according to the primary objective of the VRI stated in 2011.

Next steps

In the future, the labex will concentrate its efforts on the clinical evaluation of these candidate vaccines with the ultimate goal to select the best-in-class strategy that will be pushed in further clinical development plans. This will require the continuation of an ambitious program associating the improvement of the concepts of vaccine tools and strategies, their down-selection in the preclinical models and a better understanding of the mechanisms of vaccine responses. The expertise and know-how developed in the consortium put us in an excellent position and guarantee the success of the program.


The European HIV Vaccine Alliance (EHVA) announces the start of the EHVA T01 / ANRS VRI05 trial, with the initiation of screening of participants at the Lausanne University Hospital Switzerland. EHVA-T01 / ANRS VRI05, a phase I/II placebo-controlled randomised trial, will evaluate a combination of experimental therapeutic HIV vaccines and an experimental immunotherapy drug in people living with HIV across six countries in Europe - France, Germany, Italy Spain, Switzerland, and UK. Prof Yves Lévy is the coordinating investigator of EHVA-T01/ ANRS VRI05, which is sponsored by Inserm-ANRS and managed by The Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit at University College London.

Prof Yves Lévy, director of the VRI, is the coordinator of the EHVA consortium, a five year project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme designed to foster the development of an effective vaccine (www.ehv-a.eu). The EHVA encompasses 39 partners, each with the expertise to promote a comprehensive approach to the development of an effective HIV vaccine.

Press release

In parallel to the 30th edition of the World AIDS Day that will take place on December 1st, the VRI and its partners, UPEC and Inserm, are organizing a day dedicated to the fight against AIDS in Créteil.

In the program:

  • Free and anonymous screening "1 minute to know" on the Campus center of UPEC
  • Conference-debate on "HIV: where are we with the vaccine research? From 5pm to 7pm at the André Boulle Campus of UPEC. Mediation will be provided by Lionel Cavicchioli from The Conversation.

> Entrée libre avec inscription en ligne

Program of the conference

I. Current situation of HIV vaccine clinical research - Jean-Daniel Lelièvre (Vaccine Research Institute)

II. Recruitment and Engagement of "Volunteers" in Clinical Trials - Caroline Ollivier-Yaniv (Ceditec, Vaccine Research Institute)

III. Vaccination and mistrust - Annick Opinel (Institut Pasteur)

IV. Roundtable with Speakers and Representatives of UPEC Student Associations



Led by Nicolas Manel, VRI and Inserm researcher, the NONO study brings a better understanding of the natural mechanisms of the control of HIV infection and opens the way to new steps in vaccine research against this virus.
This study is supported by ANRS. The work was published in the journal Cell.