MVA-MERS-S, a prophylactic Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) vaccine, is being developed by MERS-CoV Vaccine Consortium comprising of IDT Biologika GmbH, German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), Erasmus MC and CR2O. The vaccine consists of a recombinant Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA) vector with an inserted MERS gene that expresses the MERS-CoV spike glycoprotein (S). The first generation of the MVA MERS vaccine is produced in primary chicken embryo fibroblasts. The vaccine was originally developed by Ludwig-Maximilians University (LMU) in collaboration with Erasmus MC and Phillips University Marburg (University of Marburg in organisation table). Phase I development is underway in Germany.
MVA MERS S was advanced up to phase I development stage by the German Center of Infection Research (DZIF) comprising of University of Marburg, Ludwig-Maximilians University, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf and Clinical Trial Centre North. Further development will be continued by IDT Biologika GmbH and a MERS-CoV Vaccine Consortium  . IDT Biologika GmbH developed a proprietary cell substrate for large-scale production of the MVA-based vaccine produced in primary chicken embryo fibroblasts  .
Key Development Milestones
In November 2017, University of Marburg, Ludwig-Maximilians University, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, in collaboration with Charite - Universitatsmedizin Berlin (Charite University, Berlin), Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine and University of Cologne initiated a phase I trial to evaluate the safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of MVA MERS S in healthy volunteers (UKE-DZIF1-MVA-MERS-S; NCT03615911). The open-label, ascending dose trial will enrol approximately 26 healthy volunteers in Germany.
In preclinical trials, MVA MERS S was safe and effective against MERS-CoV infections in genetically modified mice that had been made susceptible to coronavirus infections  . Immunisation of BALB/c mice with either intramuscular or subcutaneous regimens of MVA MERS S induced MERS-CoV-specific CD8(+) T cells and virus-neutralizing antibodies. Vaccinated mice were protected against MERS-CoV challenge infection after transduction with the human dipeptidyl peptidase 4 receptor   .
Ludwig-Maximilians University, in December 2015, reported that MVA MERS S decreased viral load in camels  .
In September 2013, Ludwig-Maximilians University reported that MVA MERS S induced the immune system to develop antibodies that prevent a coronavirus infection in mice  .
In August 2018, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) reported that IDT Biologika GmbH will receive up to $US36 million to further the development and manufacture of a vaccine against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Under the Framework Partnering Agreement, CEPI will provide $US15.7 million to support the first stages of the development, with options to invest up to a total of $US36 million over 5 years, including clinical development, process development, manufacturing and stockpile of the vaccine  .