The Middle East Respiratory Syndrom coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was first seen in Saudi Arabia in September 2012. As of a recent WHO report, more than 64 cases of infections with MERS-CoV have been confirmed, including 38 deaths. As human-to-human transmissions have been observed the threat potential of this infectious disease may be great. “International concern about these infections is high, because it is possible for this virus to move around the world. There have been now several examples where the virus has moved from one country to another through travelers,” the WHO said of MERS. Greffex has developed a MERS vaccine just four weeks after it became obvious that MERS-CoV had moved to the WHO’s “alert phase, a phase that also includes the human bird flu viruses H5N1 and H7N9.
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 MERS-CoV major S surface protein.
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. About a month ago the danger of MERS became apparent. Since then, Greffex was able to deliver the respective GREVAX/MERS vaccine candidate.
NIAID TESTS GREFFEX’S MERS-CoV VACCINE
September 4, 2014
In the summer of 2014, Greffex was asked by the National Institue of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) for a sample of its vaccine for MERS-CoV so that it could run tests to evaluate the production of neutralizing antibodies.
On a very tight schedule (less than two months) Greffex produced, purified, and vaccinated animals with the GreMERSfi. Mice were immunized in a prime/boost schedule with a small dose (approx. 3×108 genome equivalents). A standard micro-neutralization assay was used to quantify the humoral immune responses. All of the animals raised significant levels of neutralizing antibodies. 75% of the animals presented with very high antibody titers in the range of 640 to more than 2,560 (the test limit). In light of these results, the NIAID has invited Greffex to request further trials under its sponsorship.