Researchers of the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI) together with groups at the DZIF have developed a vaccine against MERS, that is highly immunogenic and indicates protection of vaccinated mice in challenge experiments. The data indicate that such recombinant measles viruses are suitable as a platform for developing vaccines against different emerging pathogens. The developed vector vaccine is a promising candidate for a clinical trial on the road towards developing a MERS vaccine.
The MERS coronavirus can cause severe, potentially lethal infections in human patients. An authorised vaccine is not available, so far. During the development of "vaccine platforms" against emerging pathogens such as the MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV), selected genetic sequences of the pathogen are integrated into a vaccine vector, for which extensive clinical experience is available. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (PEI) in collaboration with various research groups at the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) have developed a vaccine on the basis of a measles virus vaccine strain. This vaccine is highly immunogenic and protective in animal experiments.
Previously, members of the DZIF had already participated in the identification of the MERS coronavirus. After identifying the MERS-CoV as the causative agent of the mainly respiratory syndrome, which was first described in 2012 in human patients, the development of a vaccine against MERS was started on the basis of measles vaccine viruses in the PEI and the DZIF. For this purpose, the gene encoding the MERS-CoV envelope glycoprotein was inserted into the genome of a measles virus vaccine strain. Another vaccine candidate is being developed in a DZIF project by Prof Gerd Sutter in Munich.