Virus-like particles (VLPs) provide great potential to develop future vaccines against highly pathogenic viral pathogens. VLPs mimic the virus in structure and morphology, but are non-infectious, featuring a high safety profile. The goal of our proposed project is to develop vaccine technology based on recombinant VLPs. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza virus are important respiratory viral pathogens. There is no licensed vaccine against RSV. There are 9 times more deaths by RSV than those by influenza among young infants. The fact that licensed RSV drugs are based on antibodies highly supports the possibility to develop an effective RSV vaccine. We have developed RSV VLP vaccines that are proven to be effective in preventing RSV enhanced disease from recent feasibility studies. However, RSV VLP vaccine technology is in an early stage of development and much study is needed to provide sufficient preclinical efficacy data of RSV VLP vaccines. We hypothesize that RSV VLP vaccines developed in our feasibility studies will be highly effective in inducing protective immunity against RSV. In the specific aim 1, we will focus on obtaining sufficient proof-of-concept efficacy data of RSV VLP vaccines as well as testing long-term immunity and non-needle delivery technologies (intranasal, microneedle skin, and oral vaccination). As for aim 2, we will develop antigen targeting vaccine adjuvant systems by using molecularly adjuvanted VLP technology and test licensed adjuvants. Also, utilizing VLP vaccine technology, we have developed a promising universal influenza VLP vaccine and obtained sufficient proof-of-concept efficacy data, which is expected to significantly improve the current egg-substrate based influenza vaccines. In the aim 3, we will extend the preclinical efficacy tests of VLP vaccines to cotton rats (RSV VLPs) and ferrets (novel universal influenza VLPs). VLP vaccines proposed in this application will provide an excellent system to prove VLP vaccine technologies which are also applicable to other biodefense pathogens.

Public Health Relevance

Recombinant virus-like particles are considered as a promising new technology to develop future vaccines against viral pathogens such as influenza and Respiratory Syncytial virus, both of which continue to cause public health problems. Therefore, development of virus-like particle vaccine technology including novel adjuvants and non-needle vaccine delivery will have a significant impact on developing new vaccines, and thus improving the public health.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAI1-SM-M (J1))
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Salomon, Rachelle
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Georgia State University
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United States
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