The recently emerging H7N9 highly pathological “avian” influenza (HPAI) was characterized by Keiji Fukuda assistant director-general for health security of the World Health Organization (WHO), as an “unusually dangerous virus for humans.” In the last month, bird carriers have infected more than 100 patients, caused more than 20 deaths, and the disease has moved beyond the environs of Shanghai to Taiwan. Although only sporadic human-to-human transmission has so far been seen, only a few mutations within the H7N9 genome may be necessary to enhance its infectivity thus creating a fast moving and dangerous pandemic. The emergence of H7N9 represents another example that challenges the current influenza vaccine paradigm that is built on virus identification in late winter, vaccine production in spring and summer, followed by a vaccination campaign in fall.
The Greffex Solution
Greffex’s GREVAX™ vaccine platform has been purpose-built with a high level of plasticity to deliver protection against emerging infectious threats. It incorporates the following features: potency, versatility and speed.
Potency: GREVAX™ vaccines exploit the well-established potent immunogenicity of adenovirus-based engineered vaccines. They focus immune responses to vaccine antigens as they are fully deleted of adenoviral genes and devoid of helper viruses.
Versatility: GREVAX™ modules allow a flexible plug-and-play design of vaccines for emerging infectious disease, including but no limited to the H7N9 HPAI.
Speed: The GREVAX™ vaccine platform was created to develop vaccines within about one month. It incorporates a fast vector construction time with a standardized vaccine production scheme. The genetic information for the H7N9 influenza strain was uploaded in early April 2013. Greffex was able to deliver the respective GREVAX™ H7N9 vaccine candidate by May 1, 2013.