The $2 million subcontract was awarded by Battelle Memorial Institute, a research organization that serves the DoD Medical Countermeasure Systems Joint Vaccine Acquisition Program (MCS-JVAP). Among MCS-JVAP’s requirements is to develop a vaccine to protect soldiers from aerosolized exposure to filoviruses, which cause several types of hemorrhagic fever.
BioMARC will make contributions toward furthering the development of a replicon vaccine platform containing a non-infectious Ebola antigen, which has been shown to protect nonhuman primates from an intramuscular and aerosol challenge with the Ebola virus.
To date, there are no licensed or U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved human vaccines or therapeutics to protect against or treat filovirus infections. Diseases caused by filoviruses have high mortality rates; as many as 90 percent of those infected may die.
While the primary purpose of the Ebola vaccine would be to protect U.S. soldiers, it is possible that such a vaccine could be used for endemic outbreaks of filovirus infection. The current outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa has killed more than 3,400 people since March 2014, according to the World Health Organization.