The Department of Defense (DOD) recently awarded a $9.5 million grant to Profectus BioSciences Inc. to develop and test a vaccine for all strains of Ebola and Marburg viruses.
The vaccine primarily protects against the Zaire strain of the Ebola virus in West Africa. The company is also looking to prevent future outbreaks of the Sudan strain and the Marburg virus with the vaccine.
Both the DOD and company officials said a vaccine that is effective against all three viruses would be the best outcome of development.
"The DOD is optimistic that its long-term commitment to identifying and supporting safe and effective trivalent filovirus vaccines is coming to fruition and remains supportive to advancing the Profectus BioSciences trivalent Ebola/Marburg vaccine into human clinical trials as rapidly as possible," Lt. Col. Victor Suarez, the DOD's joint manager for the project, said.
John Eldridge, chief scientific officer of Profectus, said the company is grateful for the DOD's recognition of the company's potential.
"More than 15 years have been invested in developing the genetically attenuated rVSVN4CT1 VesiculoVax vaccine delivery platform and demonstrating its safety in multiple clinical trials," he said. "To date, it is the only vaccine to demonstrate single-dose protection of monkeys against lethal challenge with highly virulent low-passage Ebola and Marburg viruses."
In animal testing, VesiculoVax has protected guinea pigs and rhesus macaques from infection after exposure to 1,000 times the lethal amount of low passage Angola-Marburg viruses.