Prophylactic vaccines for infectious diseases

Prophylactic vaccines stimulate an individual’s immune response to prevent or ameliorate the effects of a future infection by any natural or "wild type" pathogen. Vaccines can be comprised of dead, inactivated organisms, purified products derived from the pathogen, synthetic protein or peptides. Despite improvements, many vaccines remain suboptimal due, in the case of the influenza virus for example, the virus’ genetic diversity.

RNActive® Prophylactic Vaccines

RNActive® prophylactic vaccines represent a novel technology for the production of safe, efficacious and cost-effective vaccines for infectious diseases.

In March 2014, CureVac received the EUR 2 million Vaccine Prize from the European Commission for its RNActive® vaccine technology. In particular, the jury acknowledged the fact that the mRNA-based vaccines do not require a cold chain during transport and storage. Therefore, this novel technology may enable the transportation of life-saving vaccines to people worldwide in safe and affordable ways. Through the use of CureVac’s technology, it is possible to rapidly produce mRNA-based vaccines against infectious diseases and to deliver these to the most remote areas of the world without requiring a cold chain.

Upon vaccination, the prophylactic RNActive® vaccines are taken up by different cells. The antigen-presenting cells (APCs) express the corresponding antigens and present these to both CD4+ helper T-cells and CD8+ cytotoxic T-cells. Prophylactic RNActive® vaccines elicit antibody- and T-cell-dependent protection.

Importantly, RNActive® vaccines can be produced easily and quickly and match any sequence provided.

First prophylactic mRNA vaccine in the clinics

CureVac is currently testing a rabies vaccine in a Phase I clinical trial with healthy volunteers – this is the first-in-human clinical trial of naturally optimized mRNA delivered using a lipid nanoparticle.

Promising preclinical data

Preclinical data showed that protective immune responses similar or superior to those triggered by commercially available vaccines were achieved in various animal models for different indications. Moreover, the vaccinations with the conserved and intracellular influenza antigen can further improve protection. Immunization with a combination of conserved antigens is feasible and may form the basis for optimized and more broadly protective vaccines.

In vivo data published by CureVac and the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute in Nature Biotechnology showed that RNActive® vaccines induced balanced, long-lived and protective immunity to influenza A virus infections in various animal models.