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GeoVax Reports Promising Results for Lassa Fever Vaccine
Single-Dose Vaccine Conferred 100% Protection in Lethal Challenge Model
GeoVax Labs, Inc. (OTCQB: GOVX), a biotechnology company developing human vaccines, announced today a significant step forward in the development of a vaccine candidate for protection against Lassa hemorrhagic fever virus (LASV). Efficacy testing in a murine challenge model (using a LASV reassortant) showed a single dose of the candidate vaccine, GEO-LM01, provided 100% protection to mice infected with a lethal dose of the challenge virus.
During testing, mice were given a single-dose vaccination of GEO-LM01 into muscle tissue, then infected with 1000 Plaque Forming Unit of the challenge virus by intracranial inoculation. All vaccinated mice survived whereas all unvaccinated mice died within one week of infection. Vaccinated animals produced a strong T cell immune response against LASV at 10 days’ post vaccination. The study was conducted at the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. A repeat of the study confirmed the findings.
LASV, a member of the Arenaviridae virus family, causes severe and often fatal hemorrhagic illnesses in an overlapping region with Ebola virus (EBOV). In contrast to the unpredictable epidemics of filoviruses such as EBOV, LASV is endemic in West Africa with an annual incidence of over 300,000, and leading to 5,000 to 10,000 deaths. Recent study data suggests that the number of annual LASV cases may in fact be significantly higher, with three million infections and 67,000 deaths (placing upwards of 200 million individuals at risk). Today, no treatment or vaccine is available to stem LASV epidemics, even though LASV kills more people in one year than the EBOV did in the last 41 years after its first epidemic in 1976 in West Africa.
GEO-LM01 uses GeoVax’s proven MVA-VLP vaccine platform that has been shown to be safe and to induce durable antibody and T cell responses in multiple human clinical trials for GeoVax’s prophylactic HIV vaccine. Using the same platform, a single dose of GeoVax’s Ebola vaccine has been shown to protect 100% of rhesus monkeys against death. GeoVax is also developing vaccines against Sudan virus (SUDV) and Marburg virus (MARV), two other lethal filoviruses for which no effective vaccine currently exists. In addition to developing the four individual vaccines (EBOV, LASV, SUDV, MARV), the Company’s goal is to combine the vaccines into a single tetravalent vaccine to provide broad protection for individuals at-risk for these viruses.
"The fact that the GeoVax platform combines variable (glycoprotein) and conserved (matrix protein) antigens should broaden its protective capabilities and reduce the severity of infection by related pathogens", noted Dr. Maria Salvato, Professor of Medicine, Institute of Human Virology, at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Farshad Guirakhoo, PhD, GeoVax’s Chief Scientific Officer, commented, “We are extremely pleased with our collaborations with Dr. Salvato who has conducted research on the molecular/cell biology of arenaviruses like LCMV and LASV, and their virus:host interactions for more than three decades. With this work, we have now shown single-dose efficacy with three of our vaccines based on different families of viruses (Zika, EBOV and LASV) validating the broad utility of our MVA-VLP platform for infectious diseases and oncology. Lassa fever has a greater human impact than any other hemorrhagic fever virus, except for dengue fever, and despite this clear need, no vaccine has yet entered human clinical trials. We are now ready for advanced preclinical testing leading to initiation of human clinical trials.”
For more information about LASV, visit https://www.cdc.gov/vhf/lassa/index.html.
GeoVax Labs, Inc., is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing human vaccines against infectious diseases using its Modified Vaccinia Ankara-Virus Like Particles (MVA-VLP) vaccine platform. The Company’s development programs are focused on vaccines against HIV, ZIKV, hemorrhagic fever viruses (Ebola, Sudan, Marburg, Lassa) and malaria. GeoVax also is evaluating the use of its MVA-VLP platform in cancer immunotherapy, and for therapeutic use in chronic Hepatitis B infections. GeoVax’s vaccine platform supports in vivo production of non-infectious VLPs from the cells of the very person receiving the vaccine. The production of VLPs in the person being vaccinated mimics virus production in a natural infection, stimulating both the humoral and cellular arms of the immune system to recognize, prevent, and control the target infection. For more information, visit www.geovax.com.
Certain statements in this document are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. These statements are based on management's current expectations and are subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances. Actual results may differ materially from those included in these statements due to a variety of factors, including whether: GeoVax can develop and manufacture its vaccines with the desired characteristics in a timely manner, GeoVax's vaccines will be safe for human use, GeoVax's vaccines will effectively prevent targeted infections in humans, GeoVax’s vaccines will receive regulatory approvals necessary to be licensed and marketed, GeoVax raises required capital to complete vaccine development, there is development of competitive products that may be more effective or easier to use than GeoVax's products, GeoVax will be able to enter into favorable manufacturing and distribution agreements, and other factors, over which GeoVax has no control. GeoVax assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements, and does not intend to do so. More information about these factors is contained in GeoVax's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission including those set forth at "Risk Factors" in GeoVax's Form 10-K.