Principal Investigator(s): Mark Mogler, Ph.D.
The purpose of this project is to develop a panel of alphavirus replicon RNA particle-based vaccines for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). These vaccine candidates will be tested in swine to confirm acceptable immunogenicity. Optimization of manufacturing conditions will ensure that each candidate vaccine can be prepared at a scale and cost consistent with standard swine vaccines.
The RP platform has demonstrated efficacy in several veterinary species, especially swine, against a range of pathogens, does not have anti-vector immune interference, and can be used repeatedly in the same animal without a decrease in efficacy. The first veterinary indication of the RP platform was licensed for use in swine by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Center for Veterinary Biologics in late 2012. Of particular importance is that the production of RP vaccines does not involve the cultivation of pathogens.
Outcomes and impacts
This work will produce a panel of novel FMD RP vaccines that target a broad range of current strains from each of the seven serotypes and will serve to further validate the RP platform as a viable means of preparing vaccines for FMD. A preliminary efficacy study has been completed in swine, and provides further assurance that the RP platform is capable of use in the proposed manner. The expected benefits will mainly accrue to animal health agencies and the swine industry, due to the nature of the specific nature of FMD outbreak preparedness. Rather than waiting for an economically devastating outbreak to initiate vaccine development and procurement, there would potentially be a mechanism to produce RP-based FMD vaccines targeting emerging strains as they are identified. The RP platform requires no high level biocontainment, and is already in widespread use in swine. Such an approach would deliver added security to the U.S. animal industry with minimal risk.