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Session 1Advanced Vaccine Technology and Engineering

DNA and other gene-based vaccines represent a recent technological advance for making vaccines and immunotherapeutics directed against a variety of infectious diseases, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. They arose from efforts to specifically harness the T cell arm of immune responses, in addition to the B cell, or antibody, mediated responses which are more traditionally measured by existing licensed vaccines.

Session 2Vaccine Production

Vaccine production has several stages. Process of vaccine manufacture has the following steps:

  • Inactivation – This involves making of the antigen preparation

  • Purification – The isolated antigen is purified

  • Formulation – The purified antigen is combined with adjuvants, stabilizers and preservatives to form the final vaccine preparation.

Vaccines are produced in large scale as they need to be administered to large populations of children and adults to be effective as a public health tool. This large scale production is often a challenge

Session 3DNA Vaccines

DNA vaccination is a technique for protecting against disease by injection with genetically engineered DNA so cells directly produce an antigen, producing a protective immunological response. The field of DNA vaccination is developing rapidly. Vaccines currently being developed use not only DNA, but also include adjuncts that assist DNA to enter cells, target it towards specific cells, or that may act as adjuvants in stimulating or directing the immune response. Ultimately, the distinction between a sophisticated DNA vaccine and a simple viral vector may not be clear. Many aspects of the immune response generated by DNA vaccines are not understood. However, this has not impeded significant progress towards the use of this type of vaccine in humans, and clinical trials have begun. 

Session 4Bioinformatics in Vaccine Design

Development of computer methods in molecular biology and fast growth of microbial genomics data enabled new approach based on selecting in silico antigenic components to design vaccine constructs. It is expected that application of this technology will eliminate side effects of new vaccines and reduce the time consumption and financial expenses. The bioinformatics methods of sequence analysis are used to reveal the most prospective proteins or protein fragments of infectious agents as candidates for vaccine design. In these studies the specialized molecular immunology databases are widely used. The new approach ("Reverse vaccinology") could help in designing vaccines against diseases where traditional methods are not successful, e.g. when the viral genome reveals the extreme variability and permanent changes of antigenic properties that make difficulties for selection of molecular targets for medicines and candidate vaccines. A number of informational resources are already designed to collect and provide genomic data on certain microbes or viruses. The peculiarity of such resources is presentation of data, characterizing the different genomic variants of the same infectious agents. These structural data coupled with information on functional/immune features and software tools have to compose basis for constructing a new generation of vaccines against "common" and new infections such as AIDS, Hepatitis C, and SARS.


Session 5Veterinary & Plant-Based Vaccines

The production of recombinant vaccines in plants may help to reduce the burden of veterinary diseases, which cause major economic losses and in some cases can affect human health. While there is abundant research in this area, a knowledge gap exists between the ability to create and evaluate plant-based products in the laboratory, and the ability to take these products on a path to commercialization .

During the past two decades, antibodies, antibody derivatives and vaccines have been developed for therapeutic and diagnostic applications in human and veterinary medicine. Numerous species of dicot and monocot plants have been genetically modified to produce antibodies or vaccines, and a number of diverse transformation methods and strategies to enhance the accumulation of the pharmaceutical proteins are now available .

Session 6Vaccines for Neurodegenerative Disorders

Neurodegenerative disorders are becoming increasingly common and an ever greater healthcare burden, as the average age in Western populations rises. Many of these are conformational disorders, which are characterized by the accumulation of a host protein that undergoes a structural change increasing its beta-sheet content, rendering it toxic. The most common of these illnesses is Alzheimer's disease. Prion diseases are also conformational disorders, which are currently less common than Alzheimer's disease, however, these illnesses have no treatment and are universally rapidly fatal.

Neurodegenerative conditions share common primary risk factors and mediators of disease progression. Because many degenerative disorders are age related, deteriorating immunity in aging patients might impose additional risk. Adaptive (T-cell-mediated) immunity is a defense mechanism that instructs microglia to fight off and clear away self-derived enemies. Such adaptive immunity can be boosted, without risking the development of autoimmune disease, by injecting weak agonists of self-antigens or by weakening the suppressive CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells. If widely cross-reactive, the agonist might effectively counteract a variety of neurodegenerative disorders. Boosting of relevant T cells by vaccination could thus ‘recharge’ a deteriorating immune system that has to contend with an increasing number of risk factors. 

Session 7Ebola virus and vaccine development

Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. More surveillance data and research are needed on the risks of sexual transmission, and particularly on the prevalence of viable and transmissible virus in semen over time. The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks. The first EVD outbreaks occurred in remote villages in Central Africa, near tropical rainforests. The 2014–2016 outbreak in West Africa involved major urban areas as well as rural ones.

Early supportive care with rehydration, symptomatic treatment improves survival. There is as yet no licensed treatment proven to neutralize the virus but a range of blood, immunological and drug therapies are under development.  

Session 8Cancer vaccines

Some types of cancer, such as cervical cancer and some liver cancers, are caused by viruses (oncoviruses). Traditional vaccines against those viruses, such as HPV vaccine and hepatitis B vaccine, prevent those types of cancer.

Cancer treatment vaccines are different from the vaccines that work against viruses. These vaccines try to get the immune system to mount an attack against cancer cells in the body. Instead of preventing disease, they are meant to get the immune system to attack a disease that already exists.

Some cancer treatment vaccines are made up of cancer cells, parts of cells, or pure antigens. Sometimes a patient’s own immune cells are removed and exposed to these substances in the lab to create the vaccine. Once the vaccine is ready, it’s injected into the body to increase the immune response against cancer cells. Vaccines are often combined with other substances or cells called adjuvants that help boost the immune response even further.

Session 9Vaccine Specific: Zika viruses, Bacterial vaccines, HIV Vaccines, Malarial Vaccines

Zika virus disease is a rapidly spreading, emerging infectious disease transmitted by mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus (ZIKV). The rapid spread of ZIKV, its association with abnormal fetal brain development, and lack of a preventive vaccine constitute a global health emergency. ZIKV belongs to the flaviviridae family which also include, dengue and yellow fever viruses. Bacterial vaccines contain killed or attenuated bacteria that activate the immune system. Antibodies are built against that particular bacteria, and prevents bacterial infection later. An example of a bacterial vaccine is the Tuberculosis vaccine.  An HIV vaccine is a vaccine which would either protect individuals who do not have HIV from contracting that virus, or otherwise may have a therapeutic effect for persons who have or later contract HIV/AIDS. Developing safe, effective, and affordable vaccines that can prevent HIV infection in uninfected people is the best hope for controlling and ultimately ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The long-term goal is to develop a safe and effective vaccine that protects people worldwide from getting infected with HIV.  Despite many decades of intense research and development effort, there is no commercially available malaria vaccine at the present time. RTS,S/AS01 is the most advanced vaccine candidate against the most deadly form of human malaria, P. falciparum. More than 20 other vaccine constructs are currently being evaluated in clinical trials or are in advanced preclinical development. 

Session 10Vaccine Safety & Correlates of vaccine Protection

The ability to assess the protective efficacy of a vaccine by measuring the proportion of vaccines who generate a particular immune response, without having to measure clinical outcomes, has significant advantages. The availability and quality of such substitute endpoints1 are important for vaccine development, licensure and effectiveness monitoring. A better understanding of the interrelationships between vaccination, the immune response, protection, and clinical outcomes is thus of interest not only to regulatory authorities but also to microbiologists, immunologists, epidemiologists and statisticians.

In the context of vaccines, protection implies an immunological mechanism to prevent or to reduce severity of infection or disease. The mechanism can involve both humoral and cellular arms of the immune system. Many aspects of these mechanisms are not yet understood. Protection is complex, not only in its mechanism, but also in its manifestation. It may be complete, such that a protected individual suffers no ill consequences whatsoever if exposed to infection. It may be incomplete, implying that the severity of the consequences of the disease is reduced.

Session 11Systems Biology and vaccinology

Systems biology is a rapidly expanding research discipline aiming to integrate multifaceted datasets generated using state-of-the-art high- throughput technologies such as arrays and next-generation sequencing. Combined with sophisticated computational analysis we are able to interrogate host responses to infections and vaccination on a systems level, thus generating important new hypotheses and discovering unknown associations between immunological parameters.

Systems Vaccinology: using the tools of systems biology to identify predictors of vaccine efficacy, and to discover new insights about protective immunity.

Session 12Human vaccines - infectious diseases and non-infectious diseases

A vaccine is an inactivated form of bacteria or virus that is injected into the body to simulate an actual infection. Because the injected microorganisms are 'dead,' they don't cause a person to become sick. Instead, vaccines stimulate an immune response by the body that will fight off that type of illness. It covers infectious disease targets and non-infectious disease targets. To generate vaccine-mediated protection is a complex challenge. Currently available vaccines have largely been developed empirically, with little or no understanding on how they activate the immune system. Their early protective efficacy is primarily conferred by the induction of antigen-specific antibodies. However, there is more to antibody-mediated protection than the peak of vaccine-induced antibody titers.

Vaccines trick the body into build immunity against infectious diseases without causing the actual disease. Vaccines achieve this by introducing a dead or weakened version of the disease-causing germ (bacteria or virus) to the body’s immune system. After vaccination, if our immune system encounters the ‘real’ disease-causing germ, quick recognition allows our body to fight infection or neutralise toxins with a rapid and effective immune response.

Session 13Veterinary vaccines

Several vaccine types can de distinguished among the second-generation veterinary vaccines, depending whether they are live or inactivated, according to the strain of rabies virus used and the characteristics of the cell substrate chosen for viral replication. Considerable progress has been made in the production of rabies vaccines whether live or inactivated for animal use during the past two decades with the increasing use of continuous cell lines as a substrate and adoption of the fermentor technology for antigen production. These vaccines are produced for administration to domestic animals or wild species by parenteral or oral routes according to vaccine characteristics.

Highly immunogenic inactivated cell culture vaccines for immunization of dogs via the parenteral route are now widely available on the international market at a cost affordable to more and more dog owners in the developing world. In addition the trend towards transfer or acquisition of modern cell culture technology for parenteral veterinary vaccine production is increasing in developing countries particularly in Asia.

Session 14Epidemiology, Public Health & Vaccinology

Epidemiology is concerned with the study of factors that determine the distribution of health and disease in human populations. The purposes of epidemiological research are to discover the causes of disease, to advance and evaluate methods of disease prevention, and to aid in planning and evaluating the effectiveness of public health programs. Vaccinology is defined as the science of vaccines, and historically includes basic science, immunogens, the host immune response, delivery strategies and technologies, manufacturing, and clinical evaluation. More recently, the science has expanded further to include the safety, regulatory, ethical and economic considerations of vaccine development and utilisation. Veterinary vaccines are equally important in the field of vaccinology for their contribution not only to animal health but also to the security of the food supply for humans.

Session 15Vaccines Production / Manufacturing

An antigen is a chemical substance that will trigger an immune response in the human body and this will cause the body to produce antibodies. Usually virus proteins or a weakened virus are used as vaccine antigens. The development and manufacturing of vaccines must follow four ground rules :

    Vaccines must be developed, produced, and delivered in large volumes.

    Process costs must be kept down.

    Development and delivery times must be short.

    Patient and employee safety should not be compromised.

Process development for vaccines can pose unique obstacles for manufacturers. Because most vaccines are new products, there is no history or experience to rely on with regard to how subjects will respond to the drug. Furthermore, promising preclinical results in animal models are generally not duplicated when the therapy is tested in humans. Often, it is challenging to develop robust manufacturing processes and to validate quality control assays for these products because there is a need for a specific biological assay for each product.

Session 16Immunology / Animal models / Microbiome

Interest in the role of the microbiome in human health has burgeoned over the past decade with the advent of new technologies for interrogating complex microbial communities. The large-scale dynamics of the microbiome can be described by many of the tools and observations used in the study of population ecology. Deciphering the metagenome and its aggregate genetic information can also be used to understand the functional properties of the microbial community. Both the microbiome and metagenome probably have important functions in health and disease; their exploration is a frontier in human genetics.

Session 17Virus and VLP Bioprocessing

VLPs are small particles that contain multiprotein components which can be an envelope or capsid from the outer coating of a virus. Virus like particles (VLPs), however, doesn’t contain any infectious genome that a real virus have. It is for this reason that VLPs can be a very valuable tool in several applications like gene therapy, nanotechnology and diagnostics, and vaccination.

Virus-like particles (VLPs) can be produced using various cell culture production expression systems including bacteria and yeast cells, insect cell lines, mammalian cell lines and plant cells.