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Immunogen Design

Research Gaps

Immunogen Design

  • A systematic approach to move from genome to vaccine
  • Rationale selection of vaccine candidates (e.g making use of available genome data)
  • Recombinant expression systems
  • Antigen selection, delivery and activation of the immune response with adjuvants
  • Design of candidate molecular vaccines similar to those that are proving successful in the design of vaccines for humans
  • Improving the identification, expression and presentation of protective antigens.
  • Systematic characterisation of relevant immunogens in vaccine preparations
  • Characterizing the parasite-derived molecules involved in host-parasite interactions (e.g. those expressed on the parasite surface, secreted etc)
  • Novel strategies capable of identifying specific antigens as new vaccine candidates are urgently required for many pathogens
  • Suitable expression systems to produce correctly folded, antigenic vaccine components which give similar levels of protection to native molecules.
  • Appropriate protective antigens in the right conformation /post-translational configuration (e.g. helminth parasite antigens)
  • Identify and exploit protective antigens, improved methods for antigen presentation and delivery,
  • Target antigens in the host species for some pathogens, especially “exotics”
  • How can we manipulate mucosal administration of antigen to be protective at mucosal surfaces

Thermostablisation

  • Long-term and temperature-independent storage characteristics
  • Cost-effective methods for manufacture of thermally stable vaccines
  • Development of new vaccines and improvement of existing vaccines thermostable vaccine solutions

Production/Scale-up

  • Vaccines should be economically suitable for large-scale production
  • Novel vaccines which are efficacious but practical in terms of large scale production
  • Innovative methods for vaccine production and manufacture, extend shelf life and reduce production costs

Regulatory

  • Trial design and regulatory affairs
  • Cross-fertilization of Veterinary Medicine Directorate strategies for production and regulation of autogenous vaccines with need to safely develop and produce human niche / population specific vaccines, and reagents for human/animal pathogen challenge models
  • Field-based vaccine evaluations especially in developing countries. This information helps decision makers to reassess current strategies and to develop culturally relevant vaccination policies and schedules

Delivery Systems

  • Novel vaccine delivery systems
  • Exploring routes of delivery – in relation to parasites
  • Vaccine delivery systems capable of inducing robust memory T cell responses.
  • Cell delivery or cell trafficking with respect to vaccine development
  • Vaccine delivery systems (viral vectors and multivalent vaccine)
  • Appropriate delivery systems to administer vaccines orally to fish
  • Protection to multiple pathogens in a single vaccine, preferably delivered in ovo
  • Novel recombinant vaccines require parallel development of cost effective mass delivery strategies

Omics

  • Biomarker screening approaches for improved disease diagnosis
  • Lack of genomics, transcriptomic and proteomic data for veterinary parasites
  • Select, test and validate candidate vaccine targets prior to vaccine development.
  • Relating genotypic variation in individual animals to vaccine responsiveness
  • Incomplete genomic sequences and annotations of host
  • The identification of a genotype and its relationship with phenotype
  • Multidisciplinary application of post-genomics technologies for improving understanding of mechanisms of immunity, action of vaccines/adjuvants and identification of immunogens
  • Integration of technologies: deep sequencing, confocal microscopy and laser capture microdissection
  • ‘Omic’ principles could provide significant insights into the processes involved in successful/failed immune protection, as well as identifying novel diagnostic marker of protective immunity which will aid in vaccine development and assessment of herd level immunity during vaccination programs
  • The integration of ‘omics data from host and pathogens with downstream applications, such as the identification of novel vaccine candidates; formulation and presentation of vaccine candidates; development of more effective adjuvants; the unexploited potential of GMO vaccines; developing broad spectrum (multivalent) vaccines

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