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SARS/FLU VACCINE


Vaccines and Correlates of Protection

Development of a Combined Influenza/SARS Vaccine

EC contribution
: € 1 607 500
Duration
: 36 months
Starting date
: 01/01/2005
Instrument
: STREP
Keywords
: Vaccine, SARS, influenza
Project Number
: LSHB-CT-2004-512054
Web-site
: www.greenhillsbiotech.com/eu_projects.html

Summary:

The spontaneous appearance of SARS in humans in 2003 and the regular yearly appearance of influenza provoke an obvious question: could it be possible to produce a single vaccine that protects against both diseases?

A project led by an Austrian SME aims to do exactly this. Green Hills Biotechnology is well acquainted with influenza: it currently has several products in development based on genetically modified versions of the virus.

The company is now using its expertise in viral engineering to develop a combined SARS/flu vaccine. It has teamed up with three other SMEs (in Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovenia) which have added their expertise in antigen identification, preclinical testing and protein purification. The project also includes two renowned university research institutions that bring additional expertise in virology and immunology.

Problem:

In 2002, an atypical pneumonia, characterised by progressive respiratory failure, emerged in the Guangdong Province in Southern China. The causative agent was rapidly identified as a new coronavirus which was designated as severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated virus SARS-CoV. The disease swept rapidly to neighbouring regions and led to several cases even in Toronto, Canada. By the end of the epidemic in July 2003, about 8 000 SARS cases and almost 800 deaths due to SARS had been recorded worldwide. Since then, the world is in an inter-epidemic period, as no new cases were reported.

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