AGS-v Zika Vaccine
AGS-v is a mosquito-borne disease vaccine based on a proprietary dual-action mechanism that prevents infection, such as by Zika, and reduces mosquito survival. It was acquired by hVIVO as part of its joint venture investment in the company, Imutex, in April 2016.
Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus). These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus and infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is currently no medicine or vaccine for the specific and effective treatment of Zika. First detected in South America, the disease has now been detected in continental United States and further afield.
While related to dangerous mosquito-borne viruses dengue and West Nile, Zika has historically not been considered a serious public health threat. That changed earlier in 2016 when Zika was designated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a Public Health Emergency based on its association with congenital and neurological disorders coupled with its rapid spread. Zika is now present in over 70 countries, thousands of people are already infected with the virus and billions of people are at risk worldwide.
AGS-v is a mosquito borne illness vaccine based on proprietary technology licensed from SEEK to develop a novel Zika vaccine. This Zika vaccine has a proposed dual action mechanism, aiming to prevent infection in humans and also to control the mosquito population. It works by creating an anti-saliva immune response in humans that prevents infection. In addition, after the mosquito bites a vaccinated human host, antibodies from the human attack the gut and salivary glands of the mosquito which reduces the survival of the mosquito. If successful in its imminent Zika clinical study, the technology will be applied to other mosquito-borne illnesses, including malaria, dengue and West Nile.
Stage of development
Working at an accelerated pace due to the WHO declaration regarding Zika, Imutex will collaborate with the NIAID team to perform the vaccine’s “First in Man” Phase I clinical trial in the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda MD.
On 22 April 2016, hVIVO plc announced a joint venture investment with the SEEK Group (“SEEK”) to develop vaccines against influenza (flu) and mosquito-borne diseases, such as Zika and other flaviviruses. The joint venture investment in the new company Imutex Limited (“Imutex”) strengthens hVIVO’s commercial flu portfolio and expands it into the adjacent therapeutic area of mosquito-borne diseases, with an immediate and additional focus on Zika.
To find out more about the product developments, both in Zika vaccine development (AGS-v) as outlined here and also in flu vaccine development (FLU-v), please visit the Imutex website: www.imutex.com
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