SARSVAC - Immunoprevention and immunotherapy of SARS infection
The 114 days-lasting epidemic wave of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) swept 30 countries, sickened a reported 8422 people, left 916 patients dead in its wake, and almost completely paralysed Asia's economy. Aggressive quarantine measures and rising summer temperatures successfully terminated the first eruption of SARS and provided at least a temporal break, which allows us to consolidate what we have learned so far and plan for the future. Thus, this project was prepared in response to urgent medical and societal needs for ¡mmunopreventive (vaccination) and immunotherapeutic measures for the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). An integrated strategy for developing effective vaccines and for establishing effective therapeutic treatment will be developed. The strategy for vaccine development will follow two parallel approaches: 1. the preparation of a classical inactivated vaccine (as already done for other coronaviruses), 2. the definition of potential antigens and T/B protective epitopes through the study of SARS-CoV derived virus-like particles (VLP), pivotal to the understanding of SARS-CoV morphogenesis and virion maturation. The immunotherapeutic strategy will rely on development and validation of neutralising human antibodies to SARS-CoV. Under this project, academia experts in immunology, vaccinology, and molecular biology have joined forces with industrial vaccine production experts, in order to develop preventive and therapeutic measures for SARS'.