Bacterial and viral respiratory infections are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Streptococcus pneumoniae and Bordetella pertussis, influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2, are responsible for diseases with major public health impact: community-acquired pneumonia, whooping cough, influenza and COVID-19, respectively. Vaccines against some of these diseases, administered by intramuscular or subcutaneous injection, do not prevent colonization or infection of the upper respiratory tract (URT), and therefore have limited impact on pathogen transmission.
The NOSEVAC consortium aims to develop and assess innovative nasal vaccine platforms as a novel concept to block the earliest stage of infection, thereby inhibiting URT colonisation, transmission and disease. The project builds on a unique consortium of 12 renowned and complementary teams from the EU, UK and Switzerland.
NOSEVAC’s objectives are to:
• Develop vaccine formulations for nasal delivery of RNA- and protein-based antigens
• Discover bacterial antigens that promote colonization of the URT
• Use a combination of in vitro and in vivo models for optimal evaluation of vaccines efficacy
• Identify key host immune factors required for long-term protection of the URT in human
• Deliver two nasal vaccine candidates to fight S. pneumoniae and B. pertussis infection, and a single bivalent vaccine to prevent influenza and COVID-19
• Address acceptability of nasal vaccination
Expected outcomes include (1) strengthening innovation in Europe by enriching the pipeline for novel vaccines against (new) respiratory infections, (2) increasing knowledge on the mechanisms underlying URT colonization, infection and immunity, and (3) evaluating nasal vaccine acceptability by stakeholders. NOSEVAC will develop strategic research avenues to fight respiratory pathogens including those with epidemic potential and will facilitate evidence-based decision making to policy makers and investors.