New Experimental Nanoparticles Vaccine Produces Immune Response Against MERS-VoV
(Nanowerk News) The
University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) and Novavax, Inc. announced that an investigational vaccine candidate
developed by Novavax against the recently emerged Middle East Respiratory
Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) blocked infection in laboratory studies. UM SOM
and Novavax also reported that a vaccine candidate against Severe Acute
Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) developed by Novavax on a similar
platform also inhibited virus infection. Researchers reported these findings in
an article published in the April 13, 2014 issue of Vaccine.
Historically, vaccine strategies for emerging pathogens have been limited due
to the sudden nature in which the virus first appears and delayed by the
protracted traditional vaccine development process. This peer-reviewed
manuscript describes a novel method to rapidly develop vaccines against
previously unknown viruses, such as MERS-CoV, which appear suddenly and cause
severe illnesses in humans. The experimental vaccines, which were tested in
conjunction with Novavax' proprietary adjuvant Matrix-M™, induced neutralizing
antibodies, or immune responses, that prevent viruses from infecting cells.
'Our protein nanoparticle vaccine technology is proving to have the potential
to respond rapidly to emerging viruses such as MERS-CoV and certain potential
pandemic influenza strains, addressing what are clearly urgent public health
needs,' said Gale Smith, Ph.D., Vice President of Vaccine Development at
Novavax. 'Novavax will continue to evaluate this technology to produce highly
immunogenic nanoparticles for coronavirus, influenza, and other human disease
pathogens with the potential for pandemic and sustained human to human
'The emergence of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV demonstrates how coronaviruses can
spillover from animals into humans at any time, causing lethal disease,' said
Matthew B. Frieman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and corresponding author on
the publication. 'Despite efforts to create a vaccine against SARS-CoV, no
vaccine candidate has, to date, been successfully licensed for use. We have
demonstrated that this novel method rapidly creates SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV
vaccines that induce neutralizing antibodies in mice.'
'The University of Maryland School of Medicine investigators are continually
working toward a better understanding of the interactions between the human
immune system and a variety of known and novel harmful microbes,' said E.
Albert Reece, Vice President of Medical Affairs, the University of Maryland and
the John Z. and Akiko Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean, University of
Maryland School of Medicine. 'This makes our faculty poised to respond to
emerging infectious diseases, such as MERS-CoV, which threaten the health and
wellbeing of the global population.'
The vaccine candidates were made using Novavax' recombinant nanoparticle
vaccine technology and based on the major surface spike (S) protein, a SARS-CoV
and MERS-CoV surface protein responsible for attaching the virus to cells.
Novavax previously demonstrated that spike protein nanoparticles could protect
animals against lethal live challenge using the SARS-CoV virus.
MERS-CoV, first identified in 2012, is one of a family of viruses with the
potential to rapidly spread from a benign infection of animals to cause severe
disease in humans. In 2003, a previously unknown coronavirus called SARS-CoV
caused an outbreak that raised health alarms by infecting over 8,000
individuals and killing 775. According to the World Health Organization, the
novel MERS-CoV thus far has resulted in 107 deaths out of 345 infections, the
majority of which are characterized by severe illness and hospitalizations.
Both diseases were marked by a jump from animals to people and while SARS-CoV
spread more quickly in humans, MERS-CoV is proving to be more deadly.
Novavax, Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company
creating novel vaccines and vaccine adjuvants to address a broad range of
infectious diseases worldwide. Using innovative proprietary recombinant protein
nanoparticle vaccine technology, the company produces vaccine candidates to
efficiently and effectively respond to both known and newly emergent diseases.
Novavax is involved in several international partnerships, including
collaborations with Cadila Pharmaceuticals of India, LG Life Sciences of Korea,
PATH and recently acquired Isconova AB, a leading vaccine adjuvant company
located in Sweden. Together, Novavax' network supports its global
commercialization strategy to create real and lasting change in the
biopharmaceutical and vaccinology fields. Additional information about Novavax
is available on the company's website, novavax.com.
1. C. M. Coleman et al. Purified coronavirus Spike protein nanoparticles induce
coronavirus neutralizing antibodies in mice. Vaccine. In press, April 13, 2014.
2. Y. Liu et al. Chimeric severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus
(SARS-CoV) S glycoprotein and influenza matrix 1 efficiently form virus-like
particles (VLPs) that protect mice against challenge with SARS-CoV, 2011;