Bringing Attention to Malaria Vaccine Development Efforts
ATLANTA, GA, April 25, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- via NEWMEDIAWIRE -- GeoVax Labs, Inc. (GOVX) today is observing World Malaria Day, an annual international event held on April 25th each year to recognize global efforts to control and ultimately eradicate malaria. GeoVax is commemorating World Malaria Day 2019 by highlighting the efforts of its scientists and collaborators toward the development of a much-needed effective vaccine against this disease.
Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by Plasmodium parasites. Nearly half of the world’s population (over 3 billion people) are at risk of malaria infection. According to the latest World Malaria Report, released by the World Health Organization (WHO) in November 2018, in 2017 there were an estimated 219 million cases of malaria in 87 countries, resulting in 435,000 deaths. Children under five years of age are particularly susceptible to malaria infection, illness and death. In 2017, malaria killed an estimated 266,000 children, 61% of all fatalities. Despite many decades of research and development, there is no commercial malaria vaccine available at the present time.
GeoVax currently has two complementary programs underway toward the development of a malaria vaccine:
Under a research collaboration with the Burnet Institute, a leading infectious diseases research institute in Australia, GeoVax is designing and constructing multiple malaria vaccine candidates using its Modified Vaccinia Ankara-Virus Like Particle (MVA-VLP) based vaccine platform combined with malaria Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax sequences identified by the Burnet Institute. Vaccine characterization and immunogenicity studies in mice and rabbits are being conducted at Burnet Institute using their unique functional assays that provide key information on vaccine efficacy.
GeoVax also recently expanded its collaboration activities with Leidos, Inc. to develop malaria vaccine candidates. The malaria work is being supported under a contract to Leidos from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Malaria Vaccine Development Program (MVDP). Leidos has been tasked by USAID to advance promising vaccine candidates against P. falciparum malaria and selected the GeoVax MVA-VLP platform as part of this development effort.
David Dodd, GeoVax’s President and CEO, said, “Malaria is a complex disease; despite many decades of research and development efforts, it has proven very challenging to develop a vaccine able to induce long-term immunity. Our MVA-VLP technology offers an attractive platform for malaria vaccine development with the potential to induce highly effective and sustained protective immune responses. We are pleased to have established our relationships with Burnet Institute and Leidos and believe these collaborations offer multiple opportunities for success. Our hope is to successfully complete product development and identify promising vaccine candidates that will be taken into clinical development as quickly as possible, creating a successful, effective, and safe vaccine for malaria prevention.”
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 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.
GeoVax’s corporate strategy is to improve the health of patients worldwide by advancing its patented vaccine platform, using its unique capabilities to design and develop an array of products addressing unmet medical needs in the areas of infectious diseases and oncology. The Company intends to advance its products toward human clinical testing, and to seek partnership or licensing arrangements for commercialization. GeoVax’s strategy includes leveraging third party resources through government, academic and corporate research collaborations, and partnerships for preclinical and clinical testing.
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 HIV or Ebola infection in humans; GeoVax’s vaccines will receive regulatory approvals necessary to be licensed and marketed; GeoVax raises the 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.
GeoVax Labs, Inc.