Moredun researchers awarded ~€9M grant to develop new parasite vaccines

Edinburgh Infectious DIseases members at the Moredun Research Institute have been awarded an EU Horizon 2020 grant of just under 9 million euros to work on parasite vaccines. 

The project, PARAGONE (vaccines for animal parasites), led by Professor Jacqui Matthews, brings together 17 scientific and industrial partners from across the globe to develop novel vaccines for multicellular parasites.

The overall objective is to develop vaccines for the control of helminth and ectoparasitic infections that have a major impact on the efficiency of ruminant and poultry production systems worldwide.  Currently, control of these relies almost exclusively on antiparasitics, which is no longer sustainable due to the widespread prevalence of drug resistance as well as consumers’ concerns regarding residues in food.  The main alternative to the dwindling supply of antiparasitics is vaccines: these prevent rather than cure infection, will have more durable protection with no associated residue issues, so represent green, sustainable and environmentally-friendly forms of control.

Vaccine development against multicellular parasites is a major challenge in human and veterinary medicine, with only two commercial vaccines available to control these.  This lack of accessible vaccines is indicative of the difficulties associated with generating protective immunity against these complex pathogens.  Despite the hurdles, a number of prototype multicellular parasite veterinary vaccines have shown promise recently.  In the PARAGONE project, the researcehrs aim to build on their previous successes, as well as their extensive expertise and knowledge, to develop at least two multicellular parasite vaccines towards commercialization.  The targets have been selected carefully according to the economic impact of the associated parasites and the existence of promising prototypes.

Prof Matthews said

I'm delighted and honoured to be leading this group of parasitologists from across Europe, South America and China in addressing the intractable problem of parasites in livestock and thank the EU for supporting us in this project"

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