VSV-EBOVAC - Newsletter June 2016

Issue number 1

 Welcome to the first VSV-EBOVAC newsletter!
Prof.ssa D. Medaglini and CA Siegrist
Dear All,
We are happy to send you the first electronic newsletter of the VSV-EBOVAC project on "Vaccine safety and immunogenicity signatures of human responses to rVSV-ZEBOV" funded by IMI2 JU. With this letter we want to update our partners, allies and everyone else who's interested in our activities and the progress we make. You receive this newsletter because your e-mail address is known to our consortium, and because we think you might be interested in our activities.
Please don't hesitate to forward this mail to anyone who could also be interested in reading it. If they want to receive their own e-newsletter in the future, they can subscribe on our website via the link below. If you're not interested in receiving our newsletter anymore, you can unsubscribe via the unsubscribe button at the end of this newsletter.
We hope you will enjoy reading our news!
Prof. Donata Medaglini
Project Coordinator
Prof. Claire-Anne Siegrist
Scientific Coordinator
VSV-EBOVAC project information
VSV-EBOVAC - Vaccine safety and immunogenicity signatures of human responses to rVSV-ZEBOV - is a collaborative research programme aimed to characterize the immune response elicited in humans by the Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV)-vectored Zaire Ebola vaccine (rVSV-ZEBOV).
The overall objective of VSV-EBOVAC is to comprehensively characterize the signatures of immune responses elicited in humans by the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine using cutting-edge technologies combining in-depth human immune, transcriptomics and metabolomics profiling in relation to safety and immunogenicity.
Scientists from 7 countries and 12 research partners collaborate in the VSV-EBOVAC project cane.
VSV-EBOVAC started in March 2015, is a 3 years project funded by the Innovative Medicine Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking (IMI 2 JU).
Read more on the VSV-EBOVAC web site.
VSV-EBOVAC Consortium
VSV-EBOVAC is a public-private consortium bringing together 12 leading international, both clinical and high tech, vaccine research institutes from 6 EU countries and USA as well as two African clinical sites. The partners provide state-of-the art facilities and clinical vaccination research infrastructures that will work together to facilitate Ebola vaccine development. 
The VSV-EBOVAC project is coordinated by the Sclavo Vaccines Association (www.sclavo.org), a non-profit organization devoted to support research and development of human vaccines
Ebovac partners
First Annual Meeting
The first VSV-EBOVAC Annual Meeting was held on 1-2 March 2016 in Vienna, Austria. The meeting was attended by 28 participants, representing every Participant and Affiliated Member institutions. The meeting was also attended by the representative of the VSV-EBOVAC Scientific Advisory Board, Dr. Nakaya (University of Sao Paulo) and the IMI Scientific Officer, Dr. Angela Wittelsberger. Active and constructive discussions took place during all scientific sessions. Attendees presented the results and the impressive progress made during the first year of the project and planned the efforts for the next year.
First Annual Meeting pt 1 First Annual Meeting pt 2
The VSV-EBOVAC flyer has been developed to broadly communicate the VSV-EBOVAC activities and objectives.
Here you can download the PDF of the flyer.
VSV-EBOVAC filing the knowledge gaps in ebola R&D
With an emphasis on systems analyses, the VSV-EBOVAC project harnesses state-of-the-art technologies that illuminate mechanisms behind the observed immunogenicity and reactogenicity of the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine and ensures that such information is shared among stakeholders.
In August 2014, after the Ebolavirus disease (EVD) outbreak hit six West African countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) created an African and European VSV-Ebola consortium (VEBCON) to initiate dose-escalation phase 1 clinical trials with a vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)–Zaire Ebola virus vaccine candidate (rVSV-ZEBOV). When used at high doses in humans, the rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine was immunogenic but also “reactogenic” —including through the development of viral oligoarthritis within the second week after vaccination—although at markedly discrepant frequencies across phase 1 clinical study sites. Lower doses reduced vaccine immunogenicity but did not prevent induction of arthritis. High doses of rVSV-ZEBOV proved to be efficacious in preventing Ebola virus disease within a few days after vaccination in a Guinea phase 3 clinical trial.
Now, the VSV-EBOVAC project on “Vaccine safety and immunogenicity signatures of human responses to VSV-ZEBOV” aims to acquire in-depth knowledge of the innate and adaptive immune responses elicited by the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine during the WHO-initiated phase 1 trials being conducted in Switzerland, Kenya, and Gabon. Here, we describe these efforts to fill the knowledge gaps in Ebola virus (EBOV) research and development (R&D).
Efficacy and effectiveness of the rVSV-ZEBOV
The results from an interim analysis conducted in Guinea, recently published on The Lancet journal (download here the PDF of the paper), indicate that rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine might be highly efficacious and safe in preventing Ebola virus disease, and is most likely effective at the population level when delivered during an Ebola virus disease outbreak via a ring vaccination strategy. 
The Guinea trial (PACTR201503001057193) was conducted by vaccinating all eligible and willing persons with an identified or potential contact with an Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV) infected person, thus creating a protective 'ring' to stop the virus from spreading further. A total population of 7651 people was included in the interim analysis, divided in two groups vaccinated either immediately or after a 21-day delay. Results showed that at a high dose (2x107 pfu), rVSV-ZEBOV was highly effective: no new cases of Ebola virus disease was diagnosed in vaccinees as early as six days post-vaccination.
Further, Huttner A. et al. reported results on safety and immunogenicity in volunteers receiving 3 × 105 (pfu) of the rVSV-ZEBOV (51 low-dose vaccinees) compared with volunteers who had received 1 ×107 pfu or 5 × 107 pfu of rVSV-ZEBOV (51 high-dose vaccinees) or 13 placebo recipients. This major dose reduction substantially decreased viraemia and reactogenicity, but did not preclude the viral dissemination to joints and skin, occasionally leading to arthritis, dermatitis, and vasculitis. Neither of these observations was previously anticipated. Read more
Upcoming events
Upcoming interesting CONFERENCES are:
  • 12th Annual Conference of the Metabolomics Society
    27-30 June,  Dublin, Ireland
    More information can be found here
  • International Congress of Immunology - ICI 2016
    21-26 August 2016, Melbourne, Australia
    More information can be found here
  • 10th Vaccine Congress
    4-7 September 2016, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    More information can be found here
  • Summer Frontiers 2016 – Systems Biology of Innate Immunity
    7-9 September 2016, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

    More information can be found here
  • World Vaccine Congress Europe
    10-12th October 2016, Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos, Barcelona

    More information can be found here
  • 10th European Mucosal Immunology Group meeting (EMIG2016)
    19-21 October 2016, Copenhagen, Denmark

    More information can be found here
  • Translational Vaccinology for Global Health
    26-30 October 2016, London, United Kingdom

    More information can be found here
  • Hemorrhagic Fever Viruses  
    4-8 December 2016, New Mexico, USA

    More information can be found here
Upcoming interesting COURSES are:
  • Computational Microbiology and Microbiome-Based Medicine  
    17-24 July 2016, Lipari, Italy

    More information can be found here
  • EMBO / FEBS Lecture course: The new microbiology  
    24 August-1 September 2016, Spetses, Greece.

    More information can be found here
Recent Pubblications
List of recent publications relevant to
VSV-EBOVAC project:
  • A. Huttner, J.A. Dayer, S. Yerly, C. Combescure, F. Auderset, J. Desmeules, M. Eickmann, A. Finckh, A.R. Goncalves, J.W. Hooper, G. Kaya, V. Krahling, S. kwilas, B. Lemaitre, A. Matthey, P. Silvera, S. Becker, P. Fast, V. Moorthy, M.P. Kieny, L. Kaiser, C.A. Siegrist, and VSV-Ebola Consortium. The effect of dose on the safety and immunogenicity of the VSV Ebola candidate vaccine: a randomised double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 1/2 trial. Lancet Infect Dis. DOI: 10.1016/S1473-3099(15)00154-1(2015).
  • S.T. Agnandji, A. Huttner, M.E. Zinser, P. Njuguna, C. Dahlke, J.F. Fernandes, S. Yerly, J.-A. Dayer, V. Kraehling, R. Kasonta, A.A. Adegnika, M. Altfeld, F. Auderset, E.B. Bache, N. Biedenkopf, S. Borregaard, J.S. Brosnahan, R. Burrow, C. Combescure, J. Desmeules, M. Eickmann, S.K. Fehling, A. Finckh, A.R. Goncalves, M.P. Grobusch, J. Hooper, A. Jambrecina, A.L. Kabwende, G. Kaya, D. Kimani, B. Lell, B. Lemaître, A.W. Lohse, M. Massinga-Loembe, A. Matthey, B. Mordmüller, A. Nolting, C. Ogwang, M. Ramharter, J. Schmidt-Chanasit, S. Schmiedel, P. Silvera, F.R. Stahl, H.M. Staines, T. Strecker, H.C. Stubbe, B. Tsofa, S. Zaki, P. Fast, V. Moorthy, L. Kaiser, S. Krishna, S. Becker, M.-P. Kieny, P. Bejon, P.G. Kremsner, M.M. Addo, and C.-A. Siegrist. Phase 1 Trials of rVSV Ebola Vaccine in Africa and Europe. N Engl J Med. DOI: DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1502924
VSV-EBOVAC contacts:
This project has received funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement No 115842. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and EFPIA. www.imi.europa.eu
IMI EU Efpia
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