The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) said Tuesday that the organization is accelerating the development of vaccines against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in collaboration with Korean and foreign vaccine developers.
Among its efforts include GeneOne Life Science’s phase 1/2a clinical trial for GLS-5300, a MERS vaccine. The company is conducting the clinical trial with support from IVI and has recently administered its vaccine to the first test subject.
IVI is funding the entire clinical trial with a donation from the Samsung Life Public Welfare Foundation.
Vaccine companies tend to give less interest in developing a MERS vaccine as it lacks profitability as cases are rare. Therefore, there can be a significant delay in clinical study and commercialization without the support of the government or philanthropic organizations, IVI said.
However, as MERS was chosen as a target for vaccine development by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), IVI hopes that MERS vaccine development will receive the support needed for the development of essential vaccine technologies.
“IVI will continue close collaboration with GeneOne and other partners to complete the clinical trial as soon as possible,” IVI Director General Jerome Kim said. “Thorough such effort, we plan to contribute to containing a future MERS epidemic worldwide.”
MERS, first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, has infected 2,248 people and caused 798 MERS-associated deaths worldwide as of August.