GeoVax Announces Upcoming Presentation of Lassa Fever Vaccine Data
ATLANTA, GA, July 16, 2019 – GeoVax Labs, Inc. (OTCQB: GOVX), a biotechnology company specializing in developing human vaccines, announced today that Senior Scientist, Mugdha Vasireddi, PhD, will deliver an oral presentation entitled, A Single Dose of MVA-Based Lassa Virus Vaccine Provides Complete Protection in a Mouse Lethal Challenge Model. The presentation will be given during the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Virology, being held July 20-24 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
In her talk, Dr. Vasireddi will discuss the preclinical efficacy studies of GEO-LM01, a novel vaccine candidate for Lassa fever constructed on an MVA vector expressing two immunogens derived from the Lassa virus. Upon vaccination, these immunogens form Virus Like Particles (VLPs) in the host which will in turn induce immunity against subsequent infections with Lassa. Immunogenicity and efficacy of GEO-LM01 were tested in a mouse challenge model. A single intramuscular dose of GEO-LM01 protected 100% of normal mice challenged with a lethal dose of ML29, a Mopeia/Lassa reassortant virus, delivered directly into the brain. In contrast, all control animals died within one week. The vaccine induced low levels of antibodies but strong CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses. This is the first report that a replication-deficient MVA vector can confer full protection against Lassa after a single dose.
The data being presented by Dr. Vasireddi contributed to the body of information resulting in a $300,000 Fast Track Phase I/II Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant to GeoVax from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in April 2018, as well as a $2.4 million grant awarded to GeoVax in September 2018 by the U.S. Department of Defense, in support of advanced preclinical testing of the GeoVax Lassa fever vaccine.
About Lassa Fever
Lassa fever is caused by an infection with Lassa virus, a member of the Arenaviridae virus family. The virus can cause severe hemorrhagic illnesses with up to 50% case fatality rates in an overlapping region with Ebola virus. The virus is transmitted to humans by African rats (natal multimammate rat) that live in large numbers in agricultural areas near human habitations. The virus can also be transmitted from human to human through nosocomial infections. In contrast to the unpredictable epidemics of filoviruses such as Ebola, Lassa fever is endemic in West Africa with an annual disease incidence of over 300,000 and leading to 5,000 to 10,000 deaths. Recent study data suggests that the number of annual Lassa fever cases may in fact be significantly higher, with three million infections and 67,000 deaths (placing upwards of 200 million individuals at risk). Today, no treatment or vaccine is available to stem Lassa fever epidemics, even though Lassa fever kills more people in one year than the Ebola did in the last 41 years after its first epidemic in 1976 in West Africa.
GeoVax Labs, Inc. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing human vaccines against infectious diseases and cancer using a novel patented Modified Vaccinia Ankara-Virus Like Particle (MVA-VLP) based vaccine platform. On this platform, MVA, a large virus capable of carrying several vaccine antigens, expresses proteins that assemble into VLP immunogens within (in vivo) the person receiving the vaccine. The production of VLPs in the person being vaccinated mimics virus production in a natural infection, stimulating both the humoral and cellular arms of the immune system to recognize, prevent, and control the target infection. The MVA-VLP derived vaccines elicit durable immune responses in the host similar to a live-attenuated virus, while providing the safety characteristics of a replication-defective vector.
GeoVax’s current development programs are focused on preventive vaccines against HIV, Zika Virus, hemorrhagic fever viruses (Ebola, Sudan, Marburg, and Lassa), and malaria, as well as therapeutic vaccines against chronic Hepatitis B infections and multiple cancers. The Company has designed the leading preventative HIV vaccine candidate to fight against the subtype of HIV prevalent in the larger commercial markets of the Americas, Western Europe, Japan, and Australia; this program is currently undergoing human clinical trials managed by the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) with the support of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). GeoVax’s HIV vaccine is also part of collaborative efforts to develop an immunotherapy as a functional cure for HIV. For more information, visit www.geovax.com.
GeoVax Labs, Inc.