IVI, WHO co-host vaccine development symposium in Seoul

Marian Chu  Published 2018.06.26  18:05  Updated 2018.06.26 18:05


The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) and the World Health Organization Tuesday kicked off the MERS Coronavirus (CoV) Vaccine Development Symposium, for a two-day run at the Grand Intercontinental Seoul Parnas Hotel.

Dr. Ruth Harvey from the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control presents on serological analysis, at the MERS Coronavirus Vaccine Development Symposium in Seoul co-hosted by the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) and World Health Organization (WHO), which opened Tuesday for a two-day run.

The symposium is part of the 2018 Global Bio Conference hosted by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety from June 26-29.

"Safe and effective vaccines for humans and Arabian camels can play an important role in reducing the threat of viruses,” said Dr. Yoon In-kyu, head of the IVI’s MERS research business division. "This symposium provides timely opportunities to present the latest insights and techniques in the field of MERS vaccine R&D and to coordinate private and public sector efforts to develop MERS vaccines.”

MERC-CoV virus is a novel pathogen that can pose a serious threat to public health worldwide. Sporadic human infectious cases and outbreaks are continuously reported in the Middle East, with mortality rates as high as 35 percent globally.

Concerns about global infection have been rising since the MERS outbreak in Korea in 2015. The MERS virus currently has no special preventative and therapeutic options and is one of the top three vaccine development candidates selected by Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) along with the Lassa virus and Nipah virus.

About 120 experts from the vaccine industry, academia, international organizations, and government agencies will participate in the symposium with officials from CEPI, Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, and Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in attendance.

Participants will discuss the current state of vaccine research and future challenges of development. Officials will share information on the development of the MERS-CoV virus vaccine for people and animals as well as identify priorities for activities to accelerate vaccine research and development, the IVI said.

The information exchanged at the symposium is likely to be used for WHO's R&D roadmap for the MERS-CoV vaccine, according to the institute.

The symposium will also discuss WHO’s R&D blueprint for preventing infectious diseases, the recent achievements of institutions developing the MERS-CoV vaccine such as GeneOne Life Science, Jenner Institute, and German Centre for Infection Research, as well as regulations regarding vaccine approval and use, among others.

“The symposium is part of a continuing discussion among several partners on the development and use of the MERS vaccine on humans and Arabian camels,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the MERS-CoV virus division at WHO. “Development of vaccines is urgent to prevent human infections from these high-risk pathogens.”

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