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Immunoprevention and imunotherapy of SARS infection

EC contribution
: € 1 200 000
: 36 months
Starting date
: 01/03/2004
: SARSVAC, vaccine development, therapeutic monoclonal antibodies
Project Number
: SP22-CT-2004-511065


The 114-day long epidemic wave of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) swept 29 countries, sickened a reported 8 096 people, left 774 patients dead in its wake, and almost completely paralysed Asia's economy. Aggressive quarantine measures and rising summer temperatures successfully terminated the first eruption of SARS and provided at least a temporal break, allowing scientists to consolidate what they have learned so far and plan for the future.

The SARSVAC project proposal was prepared in response to urgent medical and societal needs for immunopreventive (vaccination) and immunotherapeutic measures for SARS. An integrated strategy for developing effective vaccines and for establishing effective therapeutic treatment will be developed. The strategy for vaccine development will follow two parallel approaches: (1) the preparation of a classical inactivated vaccine (as already done for other Coronaviruses); and (2) the definition of potential antigens and T/B protective epitopes through the study of SARS-CoV derived virus-like particles (VLPs), pivotal to the understanding of SARS-CoV morphogenesis and virion maturation.

The immunotherapeutic strategy will rely on the development and validation of neutralising human antibodies to SARS-CoV. Under this project, academia experts in immunology, vaccinology, and molecular biology have joined forces with industrial vaccine production experts, in order to develop preventive and therapeutic measures for SARS.

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