BioMARC awarded grant to help develop Ebola vaccine for soldiers

This negative-stain image of Marburg virus shows the filament-like particles magnified approximately 100,000 times. | Courtesy of Dr. Russell Regnery

The Biopharmaceutical Manufactuting and Academic Resource Center (BioMARC) at Colorado State University was awarded a $2 million contract from the Department of Defense to aid in the development of an Ebola vaccine, it was announced this week.

Over 3,400 people have died from the current outbreak in West Africa, the World Health Organization said. The primary use of this vaccine would be to protect soldiers; it could possibly be used with endemic outbreaks in the future.

The Battelle Memorial Institute awarded the grant under the condition that the vaccine will be able to protect soldiers from potential threats from filoviruses, the family of hemorrhagic fevers such as the Marburg and Ebola strains. At this point, there is no approved treatment option or vaccine for these diseases, which have produced as high as a 90 percent mortality rate in previous outbreaks.

“We welcome the opportunity to assist in a project that is of such great significance to protecting human health,” Dennis Pierro, BioMARC’s director and a professor at Colorado State University, said. “BioMARC was created to help with such projects.”

Filoviruses, or those viruses within the family Filoviridae, are known to cause severe hemorrhagic fever in humans and nonhuman primates. The viruses in this family include the Marburg virus and four strains of Ebola.

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Colorado State University Fort Collins, CO 80523

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