A recent study at the Tulane National Primate Research Center showed for the first time that an experimental vaccine could completely protect nonhuman primates exposed to deadly ricin toxin, a potential bioterrorism agent.
Chad Roy, Director of Infectious Disease Aerobiology at the Tulane National Primate Research Center, led the proof-of-concept study.
The research is an important step in establishing the efficacy of a vaccine that could be a key biodefense product for those in the military, law enforcement or first responders who would potentially be at risk for exposure, Roy says.
“This is potentially a game-changer. This is the first time anyone has demonstrated complete protection with a vaccine against ricin toxin in this advanced of an animal model,” said Roy. “Although the vaccine has a considerable way to go for FDA licensure, we have demonstrated through our studies that we can effectively vaccinate to protect against one of the most notorious biological toxins.”
Soligenix is developing the vaccine, called RiVax. The pilot study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, was conducted with researchers from the University of Kansas, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, University of Colorado and the New York State Department of Health.
Source: Tulane National Primate Research Center, adapted.