Wageningen Bioveterinary Research (WBVR) is involved in vaccine development projects for specific pathogens in close collaboration with public and private clients. We have multiple vaccine development strategies for antigen discovery of both viruses and bacteria, and we can monitor the effect of antigen presentation.
Vaccine development starts with antigen discovery. Vaccine antigens should evoke a protective immune response. WBVR has multiple vaccine development strategies for both viruses and bacteria. Whole genome sequencing techniques are used to identify new vaccine candidates, especially for bacterial pathogens. We have our own in house sequencing facilities, as well as bioinformatic support to interpret the complex data. Together with pathogen experts, the data are "translated" into biologically relevant information to allow in silico design of vaccines. Further evaluation of vaccine efficacy alows the most promising vaccine candidates to be selected.
Rift Valley fever, a zoonotic disease, is on the WHO blueprint list for priority diseases. A live attenuated vaccine was developed for Rift Valley fever virus with the help of reverse genetics, which was optimally designed for safety and effectiveness. This vaccine will be further developed with third parties to achieve effective control of RFV disease.
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Bluetongue virus (BTV) includes 26 serotypes and is endemic in large parts of the world. In response to the bluetongue virus outbreak in 2006 in Europe, we developed an innovative prototype vaccine using reverse genetics. This vaccine was shown to be highly effective, and can be adapted easily to putatively emerging new viral strains. The putative (re-)emergence of other BTV serotypes requires the rapid supply of vaccines of the circulating serotype. A similar strategy was used to make a prototype vaccine for African horse sickness.
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A range of strategies can be followed to present these antigens to the immune system of the host ranging from the use of live attenuated vaccines, inactivated vaccines, vector vaccines and protein vaccines to RNA or DNA vaccines. Depending on the nature of the antigen, immunomodulation is required to create effective vaccines. Adjuvants are one of the best known forms of immunomodulation. We can compare the efficacy of several different adjuvants. Furthermore, we have research lines exploring the addition of immunostimulatory compounds to vaccines to increase efficacy, such as toll-like receptor ligands or cytokines. WBVR can monitor the effect of antigen presentation by studying host responses.
In addition to the development of vaccines suitable for one specific disease, WBVR develops vaccines using a platform technology. In general, vaccine platforms are innovative antigen presentation methodologies suitable for different pathogens or antigens. The advantage of vaccine platforms is that these often speed up the vaccine development.
BunyaVax is a spin-off of WBVR that focusses on the rapid development of vaccines based on a promising new vaccine technology developed and patented by WBVR. This technology is based on virus particles that are capable of infecting cells only once, so-called replicon particles. These particles can be used as a platform to develop vaccines against different pathogens. Bunyavax is exploring the application of these platforms to develop human and veterinary vaccines. Proof of concept has been delivered for Rift Valley fever and influenza.
Contact our experts
Please feel free to contact the experts of our contract research organization (CRO) if you have a question concerning antigen discovery and presentation.