Clinical Trials
Updated
August 22nd, 2019

Lassa Fever DNA Vaccine Candidate Advances

Inovio INO-4500 vaccine candidate is funded in part by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations

west african market

A DNA candidate vaccine to prevent infection from the Lassa virus announced it has dosed subjects in a first-in-human, Lassa Fever vaccine candidate clinical trial. 

This is good news since the case-fatality rate among patients hospitalized for Lassa Fever is up to 20 percent and there are no licensed vaccines or approved treatment for Lassa Fever available as of May 24, 2019. 

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. plans to enroll approximately 60 volunteers in the INO-4500 study, which is a placebo-controlled, blinded, dose escalation study evaluating the safety, tolerability, and immune responses. 

The INO-4500 program is fully funded through a global partnership with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. 

In a previously published paper, Inovio reported that its DNA candidate vaccine against Lassa fever provided 100% protection in non-human primates challenged with a lethal dose of the virus in a pre-clinical study. 

Inovio's synthetic nucleic acid platform of immunotherapies and vaccines deliver optimized synthetic antigen genes into cells with CELLECTRA® immune enhancing systems, where they are translated into protein antigens that activate an individual's immune system to generate robust targeted T cell and antibody responses. 

Inovio's immunotherapies function exclusively in vivo and have generated an antigen-specific immune response against targeted diseases in all clinical trials to date. 

Lassa fever, also known as Lassa hemorrhagic fever, is an acute viral disease which occurs mostly in West Africa, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Lassa virus infection in West Africa is estimated to affect 300,000 people annually, resulting in approximately 5,000 deaths, as disease and infection surveillance has been poor. 

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Recently, during February 2019, a Lassa Fever outbreak in Nigeria caused 72 deaths across 20 states and the Federal Capital Territory. This new data represents a case fatality ratio of 22 percent, based on 324 confirmed cases and 3 probable cases during 2019.

Recent Lassa Fever news:

Lassa Fever can cause a range of symptoms including fever, vomiting, and swelling of the face, pain in the chest, back and abdomen, bleeding of various parts of the body including the eyes and nose.   

This infection is spread through contact with infected rodents.  Person to person transmission is also possible, via bodily fluids, albeit less common, says the CDC. 

Inovio expects to advance its Lassa candidate vaccine into a Phase 2 field trial in endemic countries of West Africa later in 2019/2020.

With satisfactory Phase 2 data, CEPI in cooperation with local regulatory authorities may stockpile the Inovio vaccine for future use throughout the region. 

CEPI is an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civic organizations launched in Davos in 2017 to develop vaccines to stop future epidemics.

CEPI has received multi-year funding from Norway, Germany, Japan, Canada, Australia, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Wellcome. Learn more at CEPI.net. 

Inovio is an innovative biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of its synthetic nucleic technology targeted against cancers and infectious diseases. For more information, visit Inovio.