A vaccine for use against the deadly Nipah and Hendra viruses has been shown to be effective in preclinical studies as early as 7 days after a single immunization, according to a new study, “An experimental single-dose subunit vaccine for human use against Nipah virus and Hendra virus”, published in the journal, Npj vaccines, online February 8, 2021.
A collaborative group of researchers from the Uniformed Services University (USU), the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) and the Galveston National Laboratory (GNL) and Profectus BioSciences, Inc. (now Auro Vaccines LLC), conducted two preclinical studies of a vaccine against the Nipah and Hendra viruses. Their results show that a subunit vaccine formulated for use in humans is effective as early as one week after vaccination administration.
Nipah virus and Hendra virus emerged in the 1990s, causing serious epidemics in humans and cattle in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh and India. The recent epidemics of Nipah have resulted in acute respiratory distress syndrome and encephalitis, person-to-person transmission and case fatality rates above 75 percent in humans. Viruses are found naturally in several species of fruit bats Pteropid (flying foxes). The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have classified Nipah and Hendra as biological threat agents, and the United States Department of Agriculture has characterized them as agricultural threat agents.
In experiments conducted on non-human primates at LNG, UTMB, Galveston, TX, where there is a high level safety and security facility to work with live Nipah and Hendra viruses, the team of researchers, under the leadership by Thomas Geisbert, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, demonstrated that immunization with a vaccine based on the attachment glycoprotein G of the Hendra virus provided complete protection when administered in a single dose. single dose, against infection with Nipah virus or Hendra virus without any signs of illness.
“These latest findings are really quite impressive and support a real potential vaccine treatment against Nipah and Hendra virus infection in humans,” said Christopher Broder, Ph.D., professor and chair of the department of microbiology and research. immunology, USU.
The vaccine is a soluble and purified part of the Hendra virus glycoprotein G, known as Hendra-sG, which mediates the viral infection, originally developed in Dr. Broder’s lab at the USU. He is now licensed to Auro Vaccines LLC by the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. (HJF) through the USU-HJF Joint Technology Transfer Office. The vaccine has also been the subject of clinical evaluation studies supported by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) since March 2020.
“This work now shows that a simple, safe and single dose of a recombinant subunit vaccine against the Nipah and Hendra viruses is possible. This is an essential step forward that supports use in humans as an emergency vaccine or in epidemics, ”said Antony S. Dimitrov, Ph.D., senior scientist in the Department of Microbiology and USU Immunology, and the corresponding study author.
“There is currently no vaccine approved for the prevention of infections and diseases caused by Nipah virus and Hendra virus for use in humans,” Broder said. “This Hendra-sG vaccine has been shown to be fully effective against Nipah and Hendra infection in three animal species, and it also forms the basis of the Hendra vaccine for horses currently approved for use in Australia. A possible vaccine for use in humans now seems close to reality. “