$25 Million Funds Arenavirus Vaccine Research
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the University of Oxford announced the launch of a new project to initiate early development of prototype vaccines against the Junín virus.
CEPI confirmed on October 2, 2023, that it would provide up to $25 million to Oxford for preclinical and Phase I clinical development of a vaccine against the Junín virus using Oxford's ChAdOx platform
This seldom-discussed virus was selected as an exemplar of the Arenavirus family, which includes the Lassa virus, Junin virus, Machupo virus, Guanarito virus, and lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus.
Arenavirus infections are responsible for multiple deadly hemorrhagic fevers with epidemic and pandemic potential. Junín virus can cause Argentine Haemmorhagic Fever, with symptoms including muscular pain, dizziness, rashes, and a 15-30% case fatality.
Dr. Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI, commented in a press release, "This new project will harness the University of Oxford's extensive vaccinology experience and its innovative ChAdOx vaccine technology – one of only a handful of vaccine platforms proven to work at speed, scale, and low cost – to expand the world's scientific knowledge on arenavirus vaccines."
"The project will generate vital resources for the proposed Global Vaccine Library, helping accelerate efforts to reduce vaccine development timelines to 100 days when faced with future threats."
The data and materials generated by this new project could give the world a head start in rapidly developing safe and effective vaccines against Arenaviruses within 100 days of their identification, potentially stopping a future pandemic in its tracks, wrote CEPI.