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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
The HIV R4P conference will be held in Madrid from 21 to 25 October 2018.
The VRI will be present with a satellite symposium "Social Sciences in Vaccine Trials: A Booster to Recruit Volunteers" to be held on Sunday, October 21st from 12:30 to 2:30 pm organized jointly with the ANRS.
As an extension of the book of the Social Sciences and AIDS collection "Recruitment-commitment in clinical trials in prevention" was published the October 2018 supplement of the JAIDS (Journal of the Immune Deficiency Syndrome) entitled "Volunteers for HIV vaccine trial : A social science approach ", supported by the VRI and the ANRS.
To combat the re-emergence of vaccine-preventable diseases, a joint European Joint Action on Vaccination (EU-JAV) platform, coordinated by Inserm, was launched on 4 September 2018 with 19 other European countries. The aim is to restore confidence and put in place effective measures to restore sufficient immunization coverage in all the countries involved. This action will be funded for three years with a budget of € 5.8 million, of which € 3.5 million from the European Union Health Program. Prof. Jean-Daniel Lelièvre (VRI) is at the head of WP7 - Vaccine research and development: priority-setting framework.
The annual meeting of the VRI took place on the 14th of June 2018 at Biopark in Paris.
Yves Lévy presented the hightlights for the year and futur.
Mary Suzan, INSERM UMR1252 SESSTIM Méditerranée Infection was the keynote speaker and presented "Social sciences and HIV research: from prevention to HIV cure trials andfrom patients' experience reports to community-based research"