The Public Health Agency of Sweden, Karolinska Institutet and the Swedish National Veterinary Institute are leading a new European project to develop a vaccine Crimean–Congo hemorrhagic fever.
The CCHFVaccine project has been given a grant of EUR 6 million through the EU’s Horizon 2020 research program and includes eleven other partners from Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and the USA.
CCHF is a widespread disease caused by a tick-borne virus (Nairovirus) of the Bunyaviridae family. The CCHF virus causes severe viral haemorrhagic fever outbreaks, with a case fatality rate of 10–40%.
The virus that causes the disease has been given a risk classification of 4, the highest possible for pathogenic agents, and must therefore be handled at the Public Health Agency’s safety laboratory, which is the only one in the Nordic region in the required class.
“Crimean–Congo hemorrhagic fever, or CCHF, is an extremely serious disease that leads, at worst, to internal haemorrhaging and death for about 30 per cent of the people who contract it,” says researcher Ali Mirazimi, who is heading the work to develop a vaccine. “There is currently no specific treatment for the disease and no vaccine to protect against infection.”