Hawaii Biotech to develop dengue vaccine for Army

Hawaii Biotech to develop dengue vaccine for Army.
Hawaii Biotech to develop dengue vaccine for Army. | Courtesy of Shutterstock

The U.S. Army Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program has awarded a contract to Hawaii Biotech, Inc. (HBI) to develop a dengue vaccine for defense personnel.

The company will be tasked with the development and testing of adjuvants in order to facilitate a immune system response that will lead to a vaccine capable of offering complete and rapid protection. Military officials report that current candidates only offer partial protection over a long period of immune generation. For defense purposes, this group of candidates does not offer the necessary protection. Dengue is considered to be a mission-ending disease if personnel are affected.

"This contract will enable Hawaii Biotech to apply our many years of experience in viral vaccine development and our knowledge of the challenges in developing a dengue vaccine to this important mission," HBI CEO Elliot Parks said.

In this first phase, the company will develop formulations that are capable of demonstrating protection efficiency in animal models for one of the four dengue serotypes. Once that is completed, the application for the second phase of funding will begin.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) praised the awarding of the contract to HBI.

"The growing outbreak of dengue fever in Hawaii highlights the need for stronger containment efforts now and a commitment to preventing additional outbreaks in the future,” Gabbard said. “This vaccine has the potential to seriously improve the response to dengue fever both in Hawaii and around the world, and I am pleased that the Army has awarded this important research and development contract to a local Hawaii business."

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