IAVI has vaccinated the first subjects in the Phase I IAVI C102 clinical trial of its new vaccine candidate, rVSV∆G-LASV-GPC, against Lassa fever virus (LASV).

The first volunteers received the vaccines at the Partnership for Research on Vaccines and Infectious Diseases in Liberia (PREVAIL) clinical trial site at Redemption Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia.

This IAVI-sponsored trial is supported by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the PREVAIL. 

It is part of a 2018 collaboration with CEPI, which is offering up to $61.7m. 

This funding will back IAVI and an international consortium of partners to progress the vaccine to Phase I and II clinical trials. 

The trial will assess the safety, tolerability, and potential of the vaccine candidate to induce an immune response against Lassa fever.

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It will enrol nearly 100 healthy adult subjects in the US and Liberia. 

Each subject will be given a minimum of one dose of either the vaccine or placebo, and will be examined for safety for up to one year after inoculation.

Findings from the trial are anticipated next year.

Based on an attenuated strain of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), the rVSV∆G-LASV-GPC vaccine was adapted to express a Lassa fever virus protein. This protein has a crucial role in causing a viral infection. 

The vaccine technology underlying the vaccine was licenced by IAVI from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

IAVI emerging infectious diseases and epidemiology vice-president and head Swati Gupta said: “We believe that IAVI’s rVSV technology offers a promising and validated new platform for the development of vaccines that target outbreak-associated pathogens like Lassa fever virus. 

“The experienced, broader network of collaborators in the IAVI C102 trial bring expertise in both rVSV vaccine development and in conducting clinical trials in endemic settings.” 

On concluding this trial, IAVI has plans to begin a Phase II trial of the vaccine in collaboration with CEPI. 

CEPI and the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) have made a funding announcement for the Phase IIb trial in West Africa.