February 8, 2021
A vaccine licensed by The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. (HJF) for use against the deadly Nipah and Hendra viruses has demonstrated effectiveness in preclinical studies as early as seven days following a single immunization, according to a new study, "A single dose investigational subunit vaccine for human use against Nipah virus and Hendra virus," published in the journal npj Vaccines online on February 8, 2021.
A collaborative group of investigators from the Uniformed Services University (USU), the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) and Galveston National Laboratory (GNL), and Profectus BioSciences, Inc. (now Auro Vaccines LLC), carried out two preclinical studies of a Nipah and Hendra virus vaccine. Their results show that a subunit vaccine formulated for use in humans is effective as early as a week after the vaccination is administered.
The vaccine is a soluble, purified portion of the G glycoprotein of Hendra virus, known as Hendra-sG, which mediates viral infection. Originally developed by USU, it is now licensed to AuroVaccines LLC by HJF through the USU-HJF Joint Office of Technology Transfer. It is now in clinical evaluation studies supported by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) since March 2020.
Both Nipah virus and Hendra virus emerged in the 1990s, causing serious disease outbreaks in humans and livestock in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh and India. Recent Nipah outbreaks have resulted in acute respiratory distress syndromes and encephalitidies, with person-to-person transmissions and case fatality rates exceeding 75% among humans. The viruses are found naturally in several species of Pteropid fruit bats (flying foxes). The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have classified Nipah and Hendra as biothreat agents, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has characterized them as agriculture threat agents.
Experiments were conducted in nonhuman primates at the GNL and UTMB, Galveston, TX, where there is a high-level safety and security facility for working with live Nipah and Hendra viruses. The research team, under the direction of Thomas Geisbert, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, demonstrated that immunizing with a vaccine based on the Hendra virus attachment G glycoprotein afforded complete protection when administered as a single dose against either Nipah virus or Hendra virus infection, with no evidence of disease.
The work was financially supported by the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH, through grant award R01AI098760 to Drs. T.R. Fouts and A.S. Dimitrov while at Profectus BioSciences, Inc. and by the DHHS, NIH grant UC7AI094660 for BSL-4 operations support of the Galveston National Laboratory.
The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. (HJF) is a global nonprofit that administers more than $500 million in medical research funds annually. For more than 35 years, HJF has partnered with researchers and clinicians to provide bench to bedside to battlefield research support. More than 3,000 HJF teammates ensure HJF is a trusted and responsive partner by providing scientific, administrative and program operations services to researchers in the military, academia, and private industry. For more information, visit hjf.org.
The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, founded by an act of Congress in 1972, is the nation’s federal health sciences university and the academic heart of the Military Health System. USU students are primarily active duty uniformed officers in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Public Health Service who receive specialized education in tropical and infectious diseases, TBI and PTSD, disaster response and humanitarian assistance, global health, and acute trauma care. USU also has graduate programs in oral biology, biomedical sciences and public health committed to excellence in research. The University's research program covers a wide range of areas important to both the military and public health. For more information about USU and its programs, visit www.usuhs.edu.
Texas' first academic health center opened its doors in 1891 and today has four campuses, four health sciences schools, four institutes for advanced study, a research enterprise that includes one of only two national laboratories dedicated to the safe study of infectious threats to human health, a Level 1 Trauma Center and a health system offering a full range of primary and specialized medical services throughout the Texas Gulf Coast region. UTMB is an institution in the University of Texas System and a member of the Texas Medical Center.
About Auro Vaccines LLC
Auro Vaccines LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Aurobindo Pharma USA, is a clinical-stage vaccine development company pioneering a major evolutionary step in the design and development of preventive and therapeutic vaccines for infectious diseases. Auros’ vaccines are based on the company’s proprietary vaccine delivery platforms to provide protection against emerging infectious diseases of public health and biodefense importance such as Ebola, Marburg, Chikungunya, Zika, and respiratory syncytial virus; and therapeutically targeting virally infected cells and cancers associated with human papilloma virus (HPV).For more information, please visit: www.aurovaccines.com.