This project is aimed at the development of a vaccine protecting against infection with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), an emerging infection characterized by a high case fatality rate, global geographic distribution, and the absence of proven targeted therapeutic interventions. Developing a vaccine against MERS-CoV is therefore of paramount importance, also because such research will likely inform the development of countermeasures against other highly pathogenic coronaviruses likely to emerge into human populations1.
Our work on coronavirus vaccine development started in 2011 with support from the NIAID/NIH and in partnership with the New York Blood Center (NYBC), The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB), Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) and Immune Design, a therapeutic vaccine product development company2 34. The group has successfully manufactured, under cGMP, the first receptor binding protein antigen against SARS-CoV, the SARS-CoV RBD Vaccine.
Like the SARS-CoV RBD Vaccine, the comparative advantage of the MERS-CoV RBD Vaccine is its efficacy in terms of eliciting protective neutralizing antibodies together with its safety in terms of maximal reduction of eosinophilic immune enhancement.