February 1, 2015
A 1967 outbreak of the “Marburg” virus (MARV) first brought to light the dangers of viral hemorrhagic fevers caused by viruses of the filoviridae family. After an outbreak in 2012 a death from a MARV infection was recently noted in Uganda. Other members of the filovirus family, namely the Ebola viruses (EBOV), are even more lethal. The members of this genus are named after the location of their major outbreaks, Zaire (ZEBOV), Sudan (SEBOV), Reston, VA (RESTOV) and Cote d’Ivoire (CIEBOV). Numerous outbreaks of viruses have been observed in the last 40 years (WHO). The most devastating outbreak so far was caused by a mutated version of ZEBOV. It first appeared in December 2013 and has spread through several countries in Western Africa, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. It has been spreading in an uncontrolled fashion and has led to several thousand infections and deaths (WHO). Travelers infected with the disease have reached Europe and the US leading to secondary transfers of the disease to nurses in Spain and the US (WHO). Neither therapeutic drugs nor vaccines are presently available to combat any of these infections.
In November 2014, Greffex initiated discussions with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) about the construction of a GreVAX-based Ebola vaccine. Due to the earlier success with GreMERSfl and GreFluVie, Greffex was invited by NIAID to deliver an Ebola vaccine candidate to be tested in nonhuman primates. Greffex initiated the construction of its GreZEBm vaccine candidate. It was completed within one month. In parallel, the Company’s scientists developed a stringent testing protocol that took into consideration the medical realities found in Western Africa. Their goal was closely to approximate future clinical trials. In early February 2015, Greffex delivered its GreVAX-based GreZEBm vaccine to NIAID for these protective studies in NHPs.