IVI Initiates MERS Vaccine Research and Development
- IVI to launch MERS vaccine development project with donation from Samsung
- Institute to host International MERS Symposium on September 10, convening leading scientists and experts in public health, infectious diseases and vaccine development
The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) will embark on vaccine research initiatives on Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a viral respiratory illness caused by the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
First detected in 2012 in Saudi Arabia, MERS-CoV has been reported in several countries, causing 1,478 cases and 516 deaths globally. It was responsible for a recent outbreak in South Korea with 185 cases and 36 deaths reported. Relatively little is known about the disease and researchers are still trying to understand MERS-CoV. There is currently no vaccine or antiretroviral treatment for MERS-CoV infection.
The Institute will launch a project to accelerate the research and development of MERS vaccines. Samsung Medical Center announced on September 2 that it would donate 41 billion Korean won (34 million USD) over five years to IVI to develop MERS vaccines. The funding will be used to identify the most promising vaccinescurrently ready for testing and to begin human studies as quickly and safely as possible. IVI is in the process of discussion and partnering with groups that have data suggesting protection in animal models and anticipates = an initial set of collaborators to be assembled shortly.
“We are extremely grateful to Samsung for their very generous contribution,” said Dr. Jerome Kim, IVI’s Director General, “Thanks to Samsung, we will be able to harness the best resources and capabilities in Korea and internationally to develop new, safe and effective MERS vaccines.”
On September 10, the institute will host the “2015 Shinil-IVI Global Vaccine Forum: International MERS Symposium” at the Novotel Ambassador Gangnam in Seoul, South Korea. Sponsored by Shinil and the Korea Support Committee for the IVI (KSC), the symposium will convene leading scientists and experts in public health, infectious diseases and vaccine development from Korea and internationally. They will present the latest translational and clinical research on MERS-CoV, and discuss opportunities for the development of MERS-CoV countermeasures, particularly in the area of vaccines.
Speakers include representatives from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, World Health Organization, Erasmus Medical Center of the Netherlands, Seoul National University, Fudan University, Institut Pasteur Korea, Inovio, GeneOne, Novovax, Regeneron, the Deputy Minister of Health of Saudi Arabia, and the U.S Ambassador to the Republic of Korea as the keynote.
“As an international organization focused on discovering, developing and delivering vaccines for global public health, we are very excited to initiate work on MERS, a debilitating disease that transcends geopolitical borders and has become a concern in South Korea and globally,” said Dr. Kim, “IVI has led successful international collaborations to develop and produce new vaccines against cholera and typhoid, and we will leverage our experience, expertise and global network to advance the development of several MERS vaccine candidates and make available a vaccine that will prevent outbreaks and save lives.”
To register for the symposium, please visit: http://goo.gl/forms/i3Rw3HlzH9
To view the symposium agenda, please click the link at the top.