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July 30, 2020

Development of DC-targeting vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 using a ready-to-use vaccine platforms tailored and adapted to (re)-emerging pathogens

Yves Lévy, Executive Director of the VRI.

No treatment or vaccines are available. However, SARS-CoV-2 vaccines will be essential to reduce morbidity and mortality if the virus establishes itself in the population. To accelerate the development of candidate vaccines, the use of ready-to-use vaccine platforms tailored and adapted to emerging and re-emerging pathogens is crucial. The VRI has developed DC-targeting vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 in collaboration with the BIIR (Baylor Institute for Immunology Research, Dr S and G Zurawski). The particular feature of this vaccine candidate is that it directly targets so-called “antigen presenting cells” which are key players in the natural immune response. Targeting antigens to dendritic cells (DC) is a vaccine technology concept supported by more than a decade of animal model and human pre-clinical experimentation at VRI, and first immunizations of mice and non-human primates are planned in the coming months.
The VRI DC-targeting vaccines is one of three vaccine development projects that will receive funding from the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (MESRI) after assessment by the Care committee (Comité Analyse Recherche & Expertise nominated by the French Government acting as scientific advisory board on Covid19 outbreak). This funding will allow moving the VRI vaccines towards a more advanced proof of concept.