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First-In-Human Study of MERS Vaccine Completes Enrollment

Biodefense Vaccine Development
Credit: Shutterstock, modified by Global Biodefense

A Phase I clinical trial for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome GLS-5300 vaccine, funded and conducted by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR), has completed enrollment of trial subjects.

GLS-5300 was designed as a SynCon® vaccine by Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and was manufactured by VGXI, Inc., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of GeneOne Life Science.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is caused by a coronavirus that is related to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus that over 10 years ago infected more than 8,000 people, with a 10% death rate.

There is no currently no approved vaccine or effective treatment against MERS, which spreads from human to human. Since 2012, MERS has infected almost 1,500 people and killed about 600 (40%). In the summer of 2015, South Korea was the site for the largest outbreak outside of Saudi Arabia of this emergent global health concern with 186 people infected with 36 (20%) fatalities.

“MERS cases are continuing in the Middle East and we are moving rapidly with our partners to test a MERS vaccine in the clinic because there is no vaccine or treatment for this virulent virus,” said Mr. Young K. Park, CEO, GeneOne Life Science, in an Aug 8 release. “The completion of enrollment is a major step forward in combatting a highly lethal infection that has triggered widespread outbreaks in the Middle East and Korea.”

This phase I trial of 75 subjects is being conducted at WRAIR’s Clinical Trials Center in Silver Spring, Md.

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