Faster future vaccine design

Glycoconjugate vaccines provide highly effective protection against disease. But so far, they have been developed by time-consuming trial and error. Now, an EU-funded project is building up knowledge and skills to better design these vaccines in a bid to bring treatments to patients faster and keep European pharmaceutical innovation competitive.

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Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia


  Infocentre

Published: 29 March 2018  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
Health & life sciences
Human resources & mobilityMarie Curie Actions
Research policyHorizon 2020
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Croatia  |  France  |  Germany  |  Italy  |  Netherlands  |  Portugal  |  Spain  |  United Kingdom
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Faster future vaccine design

Image of pediatrician with child during the vaccination

© Konstantin Yuganov - fotolia.com

Glycoconjugate vaccines are an advanced form of vaccine that has been highly successful against bacteria that cause common, potentially fatal infections, particularly in children. They combine sugars – or glycans – produced by the target bacterium strain, which generate an immune response, with carrier proteins that help the patient’s body ‘remember’ this response to protect it against future infection.

The EU-funded GLYCOVAX project is building up scientific knowledge and skills that allow glycoconjugate vaccine elements and production methods to be chosen in advance – a process known as rational design. This method is faster and more cost-effective than the existing trial-and-error approach. It can bring new life-saving treatments to patients faster, improve existing medicines and keep European pharmaceutical research at the cutting edge of medical science.

Skills for innovation

GLYCOVAX brings together eight research organisations and two industrial partners to support 14 early-stage researchers in helping to develop a novel process for producing glycoconjugate vaccines.

The young researchers are being trained in innovative methods for tailoring vaccines to specific bacteria, learning how to synthesise glycans, study sugar-protein interactions, combine sugars and proteins and choose a vaccine’s optimum structure. Each student is applying these processes to bacteria that cause serious diseases: meningitis, neonatal infections or nosocomial infections (hospital-acquired infections).

The technical and project management skills they acquire will help them lead future academic or industrial research. At the same time, the close academia-industry cooperation provides unique experience that the students can use to translate future lab breakthroughs into the next generation of glycoconjugate vaccines.

GLYCOVAX received funding from the EU’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions programme.

Project details

  • Project acronym: GLYCOVAX
  • Participants: Italy, Portugal, Netherlands, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Croatia, Germany
  • Project N°: 675671
  • Total costs: € 3 554 499,69
  • EU contribution: € 3 554 499,69
  • Duration: November 2015 to October 2019

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