Profectus BioSciences to develop equine encephalitis virus vaccine

The eastern equine encephalitis virus.
The eastern equine encephalitis virus. | Courtesy of the CDC
Profectus BioSciences was awarded a $4.6 million contract this week to develop a vaccine for equine encephalitis.

This contract will support an expedited preclinical development period and testing for a vaccine candidate against aerosol forms of the disease. Should the vaccine be approved, it would be utilized by military personnel in the field. This contract is awarded through the Joint Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense.  

"We welcome this opportunity to extend our partnership with Medical Countermeasure Systems (MCS)," John Eldridge, chief scientific officer of Profectus, said. "Our multi-vector vaccine platform is well suited to address the multiple vaccine needs of MCS."

The virus comes in three forms: western, Venezuelan and eastern. Early tests carried out by the company and researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston found that vaccines developed from the VesiculoVax platform offered protection against Venezuelan and eastern variants of the virus.

This set of viruses is typically spread through mosquitoes and affects both humans and horses. All three are capable of causing inflammation of the brain. Western and Venezuelan variants are rarely fatal, but the resulting disease can be severe. The eastern variant, however, has a reported mortality rate of approximately 65 percent. 

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Profectus BioSciences

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