Merck Teams To Tackle SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine

Merck recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV) technology is the basis for SARS-CoV-2 prevention vaccine
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A new collaboration announced it will leverage complementary capabilities with rVSV technology to rapidly develop a SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus prevention vaccine.

U.S. based Merck and a nonprofit scientific research organization named IAVI, said on May 26, 2020, they will work together to advance the development and global clinical evaluation of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate designed and engineered by IAVI scientists.

This vaccine candidate will use the recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV) technology that is the basis for Merck’s Ebola Zaire virus vaccine, ERVEBO, which was the first rVSV vaccine approved for use in humans.

Since the beginning of the ERVEBO vaccination program in central Africa in 2019, approximately 260,000 persons have been vaccinated with the Ervebo vaccine. 

The rVSV vaccine platform uses an attenuated strain of vesicular stomatitis virus, a common animal virus that has been modified to express proteins that stimulate an immune response. 

The vaccine candidate is in preclinical development, and human clinical studies are planned to start later in 2020.

IAVI’s rVSV vaccine preclinical development, including work on the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate, is being done by scientists at IAVI’s Design and Development Laboratory in Brooklyn, New York. 

This program is part of a long-standing effort to develop rVSV vaccines for HIV as well as other emerging infectious diseases such as Lassa fever, Marburg, and Ebola Sudan disease, under the leadership of Dr. Swati Gupta, head of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Scientific Strategy, IAVI.

“We believe an rVSV-based vaccine strategy represents a promising approach to combating the novel coronavirus pandemic,” said Dr. Mark Feinberg, IAVI President, and CEO.

Both organizations will work together to develop the vaccine and make it accessible and affordable globally if approved. Merck will lead regulatory filings globally. 

To learn more about Merck, please Merck/COVID-19. 

Precision Vaccinations publishes coronavirus vaccine development news.