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Communicable diseases
Communicable diseases - Focusing on neglected killers
“To reduce the morbidity and mortality resulting form SARS epidemics by developing new vaccines and immune therapies.”

The problem

In 2003, a SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak emerged in southern China. Caused by a novel coronavirus that is believed to have jumped from an animal host to humans, the infection spread rapidly to other countries through international travel. In total, 28 countries reported SARS cases and the worldwide death rate from SARS was around 10% of all cases reported. The overall economic cost of the outbreak is estimated at over 80 million euro. The development of preventative and therapeutic measures against SARS are required in order to control future epidemics. 

SARSVAC  The development of new SARS vaccines and therapies


SARSVAC will provide an integrated strategy for developing effective vaccines and therapeutic treatments for use in controlling SARS outbreaks. In order to expedite the process, a three-pronged approach will be adopted:

  • Preparation of an inactivated vaccine using methods that have been successfully employed in the development of other coronavirus vaccines
  • Development of a recombinant vaccine based on SARS virus-like particles (VLP) which are non-infectious but will stimulate the production of antibodies and immune T-cells
  • Preparation of therapeutic antibodies against SARS that can be used for passive immunotherapy

Contribution to policy development:

  • Strengthened control against future SARS outbreaks, diminishing morbidity and mortality
  • Development of improved scientific links with partners from SARS affected areas in other countries, providing access to shared technology and strengthening the global response to communicable diseases
  • Elaboration of research protocols and experience that could be incorporated into the future European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

Project deliverables

  • Recognition of the inactive or killed vaccine by the sera of infected patients and pre-clinical testing of the killed vaccine – month 36
  • Cloning and expression of SARS virus proteins in VLPs – month 24
  • Recognition of the VLP vaccine by sera of infected patients and pre-clinical testing of the VLP vaccine – month 36
  • Identification of SARS virus proteins recognised by human antibodies – month 30
  • Development of a neutralisation assay for the measurement of monoclonal antibodies
    – month 36


  • Plan for actions aimed at informing non-specialised audience, such as brochures and posters, and actions targeting the scientific community, including participation at congresses and conferences – month 36
  • Project interim progress reports to the European Commission – months 12 and 24
  • Final workshop and presentation of results – month 36
  • Development of a secure web tool and a web browser to enable participants to track project progress

Technical information

Project acronym: SARSVAC
Project’s official full title: Immunoprevention and immunotherapy of SARS infection
Research priority: 2. Providing health, security and opportunity to the people of Europe
Specific webpage:
Proposal/contract no: 511065
Start date: Not available
Kick off meeting: Not available
Completion date: Not available
European Commission scientific officer: Cornelius Schmaltz (

Name: Chiron srl
Abbreviated name: Chiron
Address: Via Fiorentina 1
Siena 53100
Country: Italy


Name: Philipps-Universität-Marburg
Abbreviated name: PUM
Country: Germany

Name: Institute for Research in Biomedicine
Abbreviated name: IRB
Country: Switzerland  

Name: Fudan University
Abbreviated name: Fudan
Country: China