The Pitt Vaccine Research Center is part of a consortium that received a $4.9 million grant from the Center for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation to develop a candidate vaccine for CFID-19.
Dr. Pitt will collaborate with Institut Pasteur, the French biomedical research centre, and Themis, a biotechnology company.
Our mission is to respond quickly to global epidemics such as COVID-19, to develop models of disease in animals and use them to express the efficacy of vaccine candidates such as recombinant measles viruses that express the CoV-2 gene region of SARS, said Paul Duprex, director of the Pitt CVR, in a press release.
In February, the university announced that it would receive samples of the new coronavirus to develop an intervention such as a vaccine.
The CEPI grant will be used to develop a measles vaccine candidate based on a modified measles vector platform as a means to deliver specific antigens to the immune system.
Within the COVID-19 working group, established in January 2020 following the isolation of coronavirus strains in France, the patented MV-SARS-CoV-1 technology was selected to develop the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine using our extensive experience with human measles vector technology, said Stewart Cole, President of Institut Pasteur, in a press release.
The funds provided by CEPI cover the costs of pre-clinical tests, the production of immunisation materials and the preparation of the first phase of immunisation tests.
So far, CEPI has invested in other universities around the world, such as the University of Hong Kong, the University of Oxford and the University of Queensland.
By investing in a number of partners and immunization technologies, we are giving ourselves the best chance to develop a vaccine that can divert KOVID-19 from our path, said CEPI Director General Richard Hatchett in a press release.