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GeoVax Joins with Scripps Research Institute and Institute of Human Virology at University of Maryland School of Medicine to Develop Lassa Fever Vaccine
GeoVax Labs, Inc. (OTCQB: GOVX), a biotechnology company developing human vaccines, announced today that it is collaborating with The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in La Jolla, CA, and the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland Medical School in Baltimore, MD, for advanced development of a preventive vaccine against Lassa hemorrhagic fever virus (LASV).
GeoVax previously announced that its LASV vaccine candidate, GEO-LM01, provided 100% protection after single immunization, to mice infected with a lethal dose of a LASV reassortant. The intent of the three-way collaboration with TSRI and IHV is to evaluate additional LASV vaccine candidates to elucidate involvement of humoral and cellular arms of immunity in protection against LASV infections.
Farshad Guirakhoo, PhD, GeoVax’s Chief Scientific Officer, commented, “We are pleased to expand our collaboration with IHV, and to now work with Professor Erica Ollmann Saphire, PhD at TSRI as well, an expert in the structure of LASV and other viral hemorrhagic fever viruses. Our MVA-VLP vaccine platform is well-suited for quickly generating various candidates and testing them using a LASV reassortant challenge model developed at IHV.”
"The structural studies from the Saphire lab will help broaden and strengthen humoral immune responses to LASV. Fortunately, the MVA platform can easily accommodate these new constructs," noted Maria Salvato, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine.
“A major scientific challenge will be finding the best way to elicit a protective antibody response,” said Dr. Saphire. “Combining approaches and collaborative teams are the best way forward to developing these much-needed vaccines for human health.”
LASV, a member of the Arenavirus family, causes severe and often fatal hemorrhagic illnesses in West Africa, a region recently associated with a devastating Ebola virus (EBOV) outbreak. 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. 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 has shown 100% efficacy with a single dose vaccination for its novel Zika, Lassa or Ebola vaccines in various lethal challenge models. 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.