Infrastructure to accelerate vaccine development
An EU-funded project is developing infrastructure to support innovation and accelerate the development of new vaccines. This will enhance European competitiveness in this field and bring major societal benefits.
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The development of vaccines is one of modern medicine's greatest achievements. However, the appearance of antimicrobial resistance and the emergence of deadly new pathogens has created major global health challenges. Scientific breakthroughs are addressing these, but an optimised infrastructure is key to translating biomedical research into an accelerated development of effective vaccines.
Building on the work of the previous TRANSVAC project, the EU-funded TRANSVAC2 is contributing to the faster development of new, effective vaccines for humans and animals by promoting innovation, facilitating access to knowledge and expertise, and establishing a permanent infrastructure to enhance research and training.
'Projects are able to bring their research forward with the support of TRANSVAC2,' says project manager Hilde Depraetere of the European Vaccine Initiative (EVI) in Germany. 'Additionally, TRANSVAC2 organises training activities to provide fundamental and advanced knowledge on a wide range of vaccine development-related topics.'
A significant step forward
Research groups from the public and private sectors can apply for TRANSVAC2 support, to take advantage of the project's services and training, via a frequent open call process. The project consortium is also supporting cooperation between research and development groups.
The project offers support in the form of high-quality technical services across four platforms, covering areas from research through to clinical trials.
'The services have been designed from a clear product development perspective and are expected to move a large number of vaccine candidates a significant step forward, towards clinical development,' says Depraetere.
This is resulting in accelerated development of new vaccines to treat infectious and non-infectious diseases. The infrastructure is also expected to hasten the development of novel prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines.
Prophylactic vaccines are used to prevent diseases, while therapeutic ones are used to treat diseases.
'By supporting the innovation cycle of vaccine research and development, TRANSVAC2 will contribute directly and indirectly to the development of new vaccines against currently non-preventable diseases and microbes,' says Depraetere. 'It will also improve next-generation vaccines and play a major role in the health and well-being of the citizens of Europe and beyond.'
To date, 80 % of all vaccines have been produced in Europe. TRANSVAC2 will create the network necessary to ensure Europe maintains and expands its international competitive edge. This will be achieved by optimising the workflow for vaccine development through European universities, research institutes, innovative start-ups and large biomedical enterprises.
The project is increasing Europe's capacity in vaccinology through education and training, targeting researchers in both academia and industry. Training modules are harmonised with courses in leading European academic institutions, with the aim of complementing existing activities and building valuable new synergies.
'The ultimate objective of the TRANSVAC2 consortium is to establish a sustainable pan-European service and training platform for vaccine development, aiming to increase the expertise of European vaccine developers and to contribute to the development of effective products to address European and global health challenges,' says Depraetere. 'This will reinforce European leadership in controlling the burden and spread of diseases, and the economic assets represented by vaccine developers in Europe.'