Researchers developed a new vaccine to prevent Lyme Disease
Thursday 21 September, 2017
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Researchers developed a new vaccine to prevent Lyme Disease

Published On: Sun, Nov 30th, 2014 | Immunology | By BioNews

European biotechnology company Valneva SE (Valneva) announced today that an article, presenting for the first time the pre-clinical
data of its novel vaccine candidate for prevention of Lyme borreliosis, was published in PLOS ONE, the largest scientific journal in the world by volume.

The article entitled: “Design and development of a novel vaccine for protection against Lyme borreliosis” details for the first time Valnev ? Borrelia/Lyme borreliosis vaccine approach, with design, proof-of-concept studies and preclinical data on protection.

 Localization of the stabilizing disulfide bonds and schematic representation of the heterodimers. (Image Credit: PLOS One)

Localization of the stabilizing disulfide bonds and schematic representation of the heterodimers. (Image Credit: PLOS One)

The publication reveals that Valneva’s vaccine candidate, a multivalent, protein subunit based vaccine, has the potential to provide protection against the majority of Borrelia species pathogenic for humans. Lyme borreliosis is caused by at least four species of Borrelia and is transmitted via the bite of an infected tick. Delayed or inadequate treatment can lead to very serious symptoms, involving the joints, heart,and central nervous system, which can be disabling. There is currently no vaccine available to protect humans against Lyme borreliosis, the most common vector-borne infection in the Northern hemisphere. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently presented an updated estimate of 300,000 cases annually in the US. This is almost a 10-fold increase to earlier estimations and would indicate that the disease is much more prevalent than previously thought. In Europe, 65,000–85,000 cases are reported annually based on notified cases and qualified estimates, but underreporting is known to be pronounced.

Renowned vaccinologist Stanley A. Plotkin, MD, professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania and creator of the rubella vaccine commented,“these pre-clinical data are an encouraging step towards a vaccine that is badly needed because of the huge number of Lyme disease cases in the USA and Europe”.

The Borrelia program is part of the strategic alliance agreement signed in 2007 with Novartis. Under this agreement, Novartis gets opt-in rights for the development,manufacturing and commercialization of Valneva Austria GmbH’s non-partnered novel vaccine candidates after the completion of Phase II clinical trials (or earlier at Novartis’s discretion).

Journal Reference:

Comstedt P, Hanner M, Schüler W, Meinke A, Lundberg U (2014) Design and Development of a Novel Vaccine for Protection against Lyme Borreliosis. PLoS ONE 9(11): e113294. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113294

Scientific Summary:

There is currently no Lyme borreliosis vaccine available for humans, although it has been shown that the disease can be prevented by immunization with an OspA-based vaccine (LYMErix). Outer surface protein A (OspA) is one of the dominant antigens expressed by the spirochetes when present in a tick. The Borrelia species causing Lyme borreliosis in Europe express different OspA serotypes on their surface, B. burgdorferi (serotype 1), B. afzelii (serotype 2), B. garinii (serotypes, 3, 5 and 6) and B. bavariensis (serotype 4), while only B. burgdorferi is present in the US. In order to target all these pathogenic Borrelia species, we have designed a multivalent OspA-based vaccine. The vaccine includes three proteins, each containing the C-terminal half of two OspA serotypes linked to form a heterodimer. In order to stabilize the C-terminal fragment and thus preserve important structural epitopes at physiological temperature, disulfide bonds were introduced. The immunogenicity was increased by introduction of a lipidation signal which ensures the addition of an N-terminal lipid moiety. Three immunizations with 3.0 µg adjuvanted vaccine protected mice from a challenge with spirochetes expressing either OspA serotype 1, 2 or 5. Mice were protected against both challenge with infected ticks and in vitro grown spirochetes. Immunological analyses (ELISA, surface binding and growth inhibition) indicated that the vaccine can provide protection against the majority of Borrelia species pathogenic for humans. This article presents the approach which allows for the generation of a hexavalent vaccine that can potentially protect against a broad range of globally distributed Borrelia species causing Lyme borreliosis.

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