WHO and IVI Hold Joint Symposium for MERS-CoV Vaccine Development in Seoul on June 26, 27

2018-06-26 11:32
- 120 experts and professionals are updating progress in MERS human and dromedary camel vaccine development, seeking next steps

- Symposium co-hosted by WHO and convened as the 4th IVI Global Vaccine Forum sponsored by WHO, Seoul Cyber University, Korea Support Committee for IVI

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) are holding a symposium for MERS-CoV vaccine development in Seoul on June 26 and 27.  The one and half-day conference is reviewing progress in Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) human and dromedary camel vaccine research and development, and determining next steps towards MERS vaccines.

The WHO-IVI Joint Symposium for MERS-CoV Vaccine Development brings together more than 120 experts and professionals from industry, academia, international organizations and government agencies around the world, including the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (KMFDS) and the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

The symposium provides a forum to update the status of animal and human MERS-CoV vaccine development, and identifies and prioritizes activities to accelerate vaccine R&D. The information shared during the symposium will be used to inform the WHO R&D Roadmap for MERS-CoV vaccines.

The symposium is discussing progress of the WHO R&D Blueprint for action to prevent epidemics of MERS, recent advancements in MERS-CoV human and dromedary vaccines by developers (including GeneOne Life Sciences, the Jenner Institute, and the German Center for Infection Research), and regulatory pathways, among other agenda items.

MERS-CoV is an emerging pathogen with the potential to pose a serious threat to global public health. Sporadic human cases and outbreaks continue to be reported in the Middle East, and case fatality rates remain high at approximately 35% globally. The MERS outbreak in Korea in 2015 sparked international concerns about potential global dissemination of this virus. No specific preventive or therapeutic countermeasures currently exist.

“This symposium is a continuation of discussions by many partners about the development and potential use of MERS-specific vaccines in dromedary camels and humans,” said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, MERS-CoV Technical Lead at WHO. “Accelerating development of vaccines for this high threat pathogen is critical to prevent human infections.”

Along with Lassa Fever and Nipah viruses, MERS-CoV is one of three pathogens prioritized for vaccine development by CEPI, a global alliance launched in 2017 to finance and coordinate the development of vaccines to prevent and contain emerging diseases with pandemic potential.

“Safe and effective vaccines in humans and dromedary camels could play an important role in reducing the threat from the virus,” said Dr. In-Kyu Yoon, the head of IVI’s MERS program. “The symposium provides a timely opportunity to present the state-of-the art in MERS-CoV vaccine R&D, and help coordinate private and public sector efforts in the quest to develop MERS-CoV vaccines.”

The WHO-IVI MERS-CoV Symposium is the 4th IVI Global Vaccine Forum sponsored by Seoul Cyber University and the Korea Support Committee for IVI; and, this year, is part of the larger Global Bio Conference (GBC) 2018, taking place from June 26 to 29 and hosted by KMFDS.