HHS Partnering to Develop Vaccine

To increase national health security against bio-threats and to protect public health, HHS https://www.hhs.gov is partnering with Public Health Vaccines, LLC in Cambridge Massachusetts http://www.phvaccines.com to develop a potential vaccine against the Marburg virus. No licensed vaccine for this virus exists today.

The Marburg virus is a part of the family of hemorrhagic fever viruses that includes Ebola. The virus causes a similar illness to Ebola and occurs mostly in Africa. The virus was recognized in 1967and outbreaks have occurred with high mortality rates, most recently in 2017. In addition to the threat of naturally occurring infections, the Marburg virus like Ebola is thought of as a potential bioterrorism threat by the Department of Homeland Security https://www.dhs.gov.

To combat the problem, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) https://www.phe.gov/about/barda/Pages/default.aspx within the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, has awarded an initial two year $10 million contract to Public Health Vaccines to begin to develop a vaccine to protect against Marburg infection.

If the vaccine is successfully developed, BARDA has the option to provide additional funding for up to $72 million to advance the Marburg virus vaccine through a Phase 2 clinical trial, and then the company is hopeful they will be able to develop a vaccine candidate against the Sudan Ebola virus as well.

“This is the first time BARDA has funded development of a virus against Marburg”, said BARDA Director Rick Bright. PhD. “We will leverage our experience in establishing public-private partnerships in order to bring results which are critical to protect not only Americans but also people globally from health security threats.”

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