Korean Academic Research Centers Develop Vaccine for Deadly Tick-Born Asian-Based Virus

Korean Academic Research Centers Develop Vaccine for Deadly Tick-Born Asian-Based Virus

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and Chungbuk National University College of Medicine (CNUCM) has developed a vaccine for Asian-based Huaiyangshan banyangvirus, also known as severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) virus infection.

The Problem

FTS, a contagious disease caused by virus-infected wild ticks, can lead to severe fever after the virus incubates for six to 14 days. It can lead to serious illnesses from platelet and white blood cell reduction to severe vomiting and diarrhea. In severe cases, the virus can lead to death. The disease was first described in northeast and central China and has now been discovered in Japan and South Korea. SFTS has a fatality rate of 12% and as high as 30% in some areas. The disease first surfaced in 2013. There is no vaccine for the disease.

The Study

KAIST and CNUCM lead investigators designed a vaccine antigen by deriving a common sequence from the gene sequences of 31 different SFTS viruses, reports Korea Biomedical Review. Faced with the goal of developing a DNA-based vaccine, the Korean team had the advantage of using only genes to induce a safe and broad immune response.

Once the team had designed the vaccine, they utilized animal models for a series of testing scenarios. They found that the vaccine suppressed infection in the infected animal model—moreover, symptoms were eliminated.

Commercialization

The team plans on commercializing the research as it would appear the vaccine works very well. The Korean universities involved maintain a technology advantage they will capitalize on for market position.

Lead Research/Investigators

Professor Park Soo-Young, KAIST

Professor Choi Young-ki, CNUCM

Call to Action: For our readers in Asia that seek more information, we recommend you connect with Professor Soo-Young or Young-Ki. Also the Korean universities maintain technology transfer offices. TrialSite Network matching services can be employed as well. KAIST maintains the Office of University-Industry Collaboration and CNUMCM lists key medical school leadership.

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