February 1, 2015
In North America and Europe approximately 940 million people are at risk of bioterrorism agents. According to the World Health Organization, its committee of experts’ estimates that an aircraft release of 50 kg of anthrax spores over an urban developed population of 5 million would result in about 250,000 deaths and an additional 125,000 would be severely incapacitated.
To protect major population centers, it will therefore be necessary to provide anthrax vaccines to a large segment of the population. In the US alone, billions of dollars have been budgeted for medical countermeasures to terrorism agents and to stockpile anthrax vaccines for a “three-city attack”. The problem with the presently available anthrax vaccine is its low immunogenicity. Several booster injections are required over a one-year period to establish immunity.
Greffex produced the anthrax vaccine GreANX based on its GreVAX Universal Platform. This anthrax vaccine has successfully undergone preclinical testing.
Another infectious agent with a bioterror threat potential similar to anthrax, is the plague. Greffex has been constructing the GrePla candidate vaccine as a single target vaccine that can be combined with GreANX for immunization. In parallel, Greffex has assembled GreVAX-based vaccine, GreAnPla, that carries antigens for anthrax and plaque on a single construct. This approach allows increased efficiency in manufacture and vaccination.
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.