Study Data Adds to Similar Efficacy Previously Reported for GeoVax’s Ebola and Lassa Fever Vaccines
ATLANTA, GA, July 29, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- via NEWMEDIAWIRE – GeoVax Labs, Inc. (GOVX), a biotechnology company developing human vaccines and immunotherapies, today announced positive results (100% protection) from preclinical challenge studies of its Marburg virus vaccine candidate; Marburg virus a critical medical threat against which there is currently no available vaccine or treatment.
In this study, GeoVax’s Marburg vaccine (GEO-EM05) was administered by intramuscular (IM) inoculations to guinea pigs, with a control group receiving saline injections. Eight weeks after inoculation, animals in each group were exposed to a lethal dose of Marburg virus (MARV). Within 8 days post-challenge, all animals in the control group had developed moribund conditions and had to be euthanized. At the conclusion of the study (21 days post-challenge), all vaccinated animals survived, with no weight loss or other health issues. The study was conducted in collaboration with researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB).
GEO-EM05 is based on the Company’s novel Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA) Virus-Like Particle (VLP) platform, which generates noninfectious VLPs in the individual being vaccinated. VLPs mimic a natural infection, triggering the body to produce a robust and durable immune response with both antibodies and T cells.
Farshad Guirakhoo, Ph.D., GeoVax’s Chief Scientific Officer, commented, “We are highly encouraged by the results of this study, particularly as it adds to the excellent results observed in studies for our vaccines against Ebola and Lassa, two other hemorrhagic fever viruses highly lethal to humans. There is a significant need for safe, effective vaccines against the various hemorrhagic fever viruses, and we are committed to advancing preventive vaccines against these infectious disease threats to world health.”
Alexander Bukreyev, Ph.D., Professor, Departments of Pathology and Microbiology & Immunology, Galveston National Laboratory at UTMB, commented, “We are very pleased to see the MVA-VLP-MARV vaccine (GEO-EM05) conferred full protection in our guinea pig lethal challenge model.”
About Marburg Virus
Marburg virus (MARV) was first recognized in 1967 and is a member of the Filoviridae family (filovirus), which also includes the Ebola virus. Infection with MARV causes severe hemorrhagic fever in humans similar to Ebola, with similarly high fatality rates. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classify Ebola and Marburg viruses as Category A pathogens because they pose the highest risk to national security and public health, therefore requiring the highest containment level (biosafety level 4 containment). MARV can be transmitted to humans by exposure to fruit bats, or it can be transmitted between humans via body fluids. Family members and hospital staff who care for patients infected with MARV are at a particularly high risk for infection. There is currently no approved vaccine to prevent MARV infection, and there are no treatments for Marburg hemorrhagic fever other than supportive hospital therapy (balancing patients’ fluids, replacing lost blood and clotting factors, and treatment for any complicating infections).
GeoVax Labs, Inc. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing human vaccines against infectious diseases and cancer using a novel patented Modified Vaccinia Ankara-Virus Like Particle (MVA-VLP) based vaccine platform. On this platform, MVA, a large virus capable of carrying several vaccine antigens, expresses proteins that assemble into VLP immunogens within (in vivo) the 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. The MVA-VLP derived vaccines elicit durable immune responses in the host similar to a live-attenuated virus, while providing the safety characteristics of a replication-defective vector.
GeoVax’s current development programs are focused on preventive vaccines against HIV, Zika Virus, hemorrhagic fever viruses (Ebola, Sudan, Marburg, and Lassa), and malaria, as well as therapeutic vaccines against chronic Hepatitis B infections and multiple cancers. The Company has designed the leading preventative HIV vaccine candidate to fight against the subtype of HIV prevalent in the larger commercial markets of the Americas, Western Europe, Japan, and Australia; this program is currently undergoing human clinical trials managed by the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) with the support of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). GeoVax’s HIV vaccine is also part of collaborative efforts to develop an immunotherapy as a functional cure for HIV. For more information, visit www.geovax.com.
GeoVax Labs, Inc.