PROVIDENCE, R.I., Mar. 4, 2020 – EpiVax Inc., a Rhode Island company, announces a collaboration to develop a novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) vaccine with University of Georgia (UGA, Athens GA) vaccine expert Ted Ross (Director, Center for Vaccines and Immunology (CVI)). The COVID-19 virus emerged in January 2020, impacting over 94,000 individuals, in China and 70 additional countries, while dealing a significant blow to the global economy.
EpiVax has prepared for this challenge, developing proprietary in silico (computational) tools that identify the key regions of viral sequences that should be included in vaccines to keep individuals safe from infection, while excluding other sequences that make the vaccine less effective or safe. EpiVax has already applied their vaccine reengineering approach to Avian influenza (H7N9) in an NIH funded program with UGA, and UMASS Medical School to address pandemic preparedness. Rapid analysis and vaccine design have proven effective for H7N9 and will likely boost the success of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate. As a result, EpiVax and the Ross lab have applied to the NIH for additional funds to apply their rapid vaccine development process to the novel COVID-19 virus, recapitulating the proven success of the H7N9 program.
At UGA, Dr. Ross’s lab is ready to get started, having already obtained the COVID-19 virus for testing. Working in the high-security containment facility, the Ross Lab can produce and test the reengineered vaccine, expecting to show that the optimized candidate is more effective at providing protection in animal models.
EpiVax and the Ross lab are rising to the challenge, improving global preparedness while working to protect human life, everywhere.
EpiVax is a world leader in the fields of immune engineering and vaccine design. EpiVax’s immunogenicity screening tools are used by a global roster of companies to design and optimize therapeutic proteins and vaccines. www.epivax.com
The researchers at CVI at UGA focus on expanding their understanding of the immunology of infectious diseases and how vaccines work in different populations based upon age, gender and ethnicity. The Center emphasizes student education, training future research scientists to ensure a pipeline of academic, public health, and industrial vaccine programs. The CVI promotes the development of regional, national, and international partnerships, strengthening ties to corporate partners and licensing vaccine technology.
Annie De Groot, MD
Director of Communications
Find the official release here.
Read more on EpiVax’s coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak.