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Lab of Viral Zoonotics (LVZ)

Novel Vaccines for Emerging Viral Diseases (EVAC)

Of the emerging and re-emerging diseases a disproportionate number (37%) are caused by RNA viruses (Heeney, J Internal Med, 2006), notoriously variable due to their intrinsically high mutation rate. Vaccines are only as good as the immune targets (antigens or gene inserts) of the pathogen that they encode. In most cases current vaccine candidates against RNA viruses are limited by the viral strain used as the vaccine insert, which is often chosen based on availability of a wild-type strain rather than by informed design. By bringing together cutting edge technologies we can achieve dramatic improvements in vaccine efficacy against a wide array of viral variants based on outbreak sequence data to generate synthetic optimised vaccine inserts to give the broadest possible vaccine protection against future outbreaks of variable RNA viruses. Our technology is capable of generating new vaccine candidate inserts for a wide variety of circulating (i.e. HIV-1, HCV) and emerging / re-emerging viruses including Ebola, Marburg, Lassa, Zika, MERS, Chikungunya, Dengue and others.

Our new platform vaccine technology merges (1) sequence bioinformatics of outbreak pathogens, (2) broadly anti-viral neutralising monoclonal antibodies (BNmAb) derived from infected survivors, (3) computational modelling methodologies, (4) synthetic gene technology and antigen display technology, (5) high throughput viral binding and neutralisation screens, and (6) in vivo immune selection and vaccine efficacy readouts. The end products are novel immunogens to trigger the broadest spectrum of protective immune responses using Digitally Designed, Immune Optimised and Selected (DIOS) vaccine inserts against emerging/re-emerging RNA viruses. Our team has the technology fully operational we have a strong and proven track record of delivering. This new platform will improve the vaccine arsenal to existing and emerging viral diseases and ensure that we the most effective vaccines possible to enveloped viral pathogens.


         EVAC Group


Lab Members

Alana Thackray

Astrid Gall


Relevent Publications