Low-Dose Rabies Vaccine Found Effective

CureVac CV7202 is a novel prophylactic mRNA-based rabies vaccine
flying fox bats hanging from a tree branch
(Precision Vaccinations)

A Germany and Massachusetts based biopharmaceutical company announced positive data from its Phase 1 clinical trial evaluating CV7202, a novel prophylactic mRNA-based rabies vaccine.

In this small study, all of the subjects who received 2-doses of 1 µg mRNA vaccine, the lowest dose tested, demonstrated a strong adaptive immune response with protective virus-neutralizing antibody titers levels above the threshold recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The CV7202 clinical trial is based on CureVac’s naturally optimized mRNA technology using a latest-generation lipid nanoparticle (LNP). The phase 1, dose-escalation, open-label clinical study in healthy adult volunteers is currently ongoing in Germany and Belgium. 

The primary objective of the study is the assessment of safety and reactogenicity, while secondary objectives evaluate the quantitative and qualitative immune response.

“These results exceed our expectations and demonstrate the power and potential of our mRNA technology,” said Daniel L. Menichella, Chief Executive Officer of CureVac AG, in a press release published on January 7, 2020. 

Rabies is a viral disease that causes inflammation in the brain, is almost always fatal following the onset of clinical symptoms, says the WHO.

The infection is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths every year, mostly occurring in Asia and Africa. 

To better address, this serious health risk, the WHO, the World Organization for Animal Health, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control announced a global “United Against Rabies” collaboration with the goal of achieving "zero human rabies deaths by 2030", on September 28, 2019.

Although human deaths from rabies are now rare in the USA, each year interactions with suspect animals result in the need to observe or test hundreds of thousands of animals and to administer rabies postexposure prophylaxis to 30,000 to 60,000 persons, says the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Bats are responsible for about 70 percent of rabies deaths among people who are infected with the rabies virus in the USA. But, when traveling abroad, rabid dogs are a leading cause of rabies cases in Americans, says the CDC.

There are 2 interchangeable, safe, rabies vaccines available in the USA. Both vaccines contain inactivated rabies virus:

  • HDCV vaccine (Imovax) produced in human diploid cell culture.
  • PCECV vaccine (RabAvert) is produced in chick embryo cell culture.

CureVac AG is a leading clinical-stage company in the field of messenger RNA (mRNA) technology with 20 years of expertise in developing and optimizing this versatile molecule for medical purposes. For more information, please visit Curevac.  

Rabies vaccine news is published by Precision Vaccinations.