The University of Oxford has launched a new clinical trial to test a vaccine against the deadly Nipah virus.
This is the first-in-human trial of the ChAdOx1 NipahB vaccine, being developed by researchers at the University’s of Pandemic Sciences Institute. The new vaccine uses the same ChAdOx1 viral vector vaccine platform as that used to develop the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
Fifty-one people aged 18 to 55 will participate in the trial, which is being led by the Oxford Vaccine Group within the Department for Paediatrics, and funded by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
Nipah virus is a devastating disease mostly found in South-East Asia that can be fatal in up to 75 percent of cases. This first-in-human trial of the vaccine comes as the global health community marks 25 years since the first Nipah virus outbreaks. There are still no approved vaccines or treatments for the disease. The disease is carried by fruit bats and may also be transmitted by contact with infected animals (such as pigs) or from person-to-person via close contact.
Nipah, which is recognised by the World Health Organization as a priority disease requiring urgent research, belongs to the same family of paramyxoviruses as more well-known pathogens like measles. Despite the first outbreaks of Nipah virus occurring 25 years ago in Malaysia and Singapore, there are currently no approved vaccines or treatments.
“Nipah virus was first identified in 1998, and yet 25 years on the global health community still has no approved vaccines or treatments for this devastating disease. Due to the high mortality rate and the nature of Nipah virus transmission, the disease is identified as a priority pandemic pathogen. This vaccine trial is an important milestone in identifying a solution that could prevent local outbreaks occurring, while also helping the world prepare for a future global pandemic.”Professor Brian Angus, the trial’s Principal Investigator and Professor of Infectious Diseases at the Centre for Clinical Tropical Medicine and Global Health
The project will run over the next 18 months, with further trials expected to follow in a Nipah-affected country.
The vaccine trial is a key part of the Pandemic Sciences Institute’s Henipavirus Programme, which is working with partners in endemic countries to develop practical tools that will ensure the world is better prepared for future outbreaks. This includes providing world-leading biomedical research and developing ethical frameworks to minimise stigma from the disease.
Both chimpanzee adenovirus-vectored and DNA vaccines induced long-term immunity against Nipah virus infection
In this study, a recombinant chimpanzee adenovirus-based vaccine (AdC68-G) and a DNA vaccine (DNA-G) were developed by expressing the codon-optimized full-length glycoprotein (G) of NiV. Strong and sustained neutralizing antibody production, accompanied by an effective T-cell response, was induced in BALB/c mice by intranasal or intramuscular administration of one or two doses of AdC68-G, as well as by priming with DNA-G and boosting with intramuscularly administered AdC68-G. These findings suggest that the AdC68-G and DNA-G vaccines against NiV infection are promising candidates for further development. (Nature, Nov 2023)
Moderna announces first participant dosed in a Phase 1 trial of its Nipah virus mRNA vaccine, mRNA-1215
This Phase 1 dose-escalation, open-label clinical trial is the first study of mRNA-1215 in healthy adults to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of a NiV mRNA vaccine. The trial is sponsored and funded by NIAID and will be conducted by NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center. In addition to the NiV program, Moderna has advanced its Zika vaccine candidate (mRNA-1893) to Phase 2 clinical trials. (Moderna, July 2022)
Nipah virus infection frequently causes severe disease and mortality, with symptoms that include encephalitis and excessively high infection fatality rates (IFR) like other BSL4 pathogens. Sensory receptors for pathogens exist within all biological systems under investigation below with regards to NiV research. These receptors are expressed within the respiratory, nervous, circulatory, endocrine, reproductive, muscular, and skeletal systems. (Immuno, April 2023)