NYBC's Laboratory of Viral Immunology Receives NIH Support to Develop a Vaccine against MERS

NYBC's Laboratory of Viral Immunology Receives NIH Support to Develop a Vaccine against MERS

World Health Organization Says SARS-Like Illness "A Threat to the Entire World"

NEW YORK, Jan. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NYBC's Laboratory of Viral Immunology at its Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute has received a significant grant to continue development of a vaccine against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – one of the most dangerous emerging viruses.  Lanying Du., Ph.D., Co-head of the laboratory, was awarded more than $400,000 for this program.

MERS-CoV is a novel coronavirus causing outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-like illness in the Middle East and Europe. As of January 3, 2014, the World Health Organization had been informed of a total of 177 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including 74 deaths.  Because of its human-to-human transmissibility and high mortality rate (42%), MERS-CoV was called "a threat to the entire world" by Dr. Margaret Chan, the Director-General of WHO at the 66th World Health Assembly in Geneva.  The Obama administration designated MERS-CoV a threat to public health and national security, and authorized the fast-tracking of approvals of tests and treatments for MERS-CoV.

Based on NYBC's previous experience in developing SARS vaccines, the Laboratory of Viral Immunology identified the receptor-binding domain and major neutralizing epitope that can be used for developing an anti-MERS vaccine.  The NIH grant will support further development of this vaccine candidate for prevention of MERS-CoV infection and halting the spread of this deadly virus.  In August 2013, Nature Medicine identified NYBC as among the pioneers in MERS-CoV vaccine research.

Please note:  Research noted here is supported by the National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

About Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute:  Since 1964, LFKRI has led the way in blood research, breaking new ground in transfusion medicine and disease treatment and prevention. The institute is committed to furthering research efforts that support the discovery of new blood-related products, techniques, and therapies. LFKRI's work has dramatically impacted global health, improved blood banking, nurtured a generation of scientists, and added significantly to the world's store of biomedical knowledge. From the beginning, LFKRI has supported basic research to understand blood and disease at the molecular level as well as translational research that transforms the findings into major breakthroughs. With 17 state-of-the-art laboratories and close to 100 researchers, LFKRI brings world-class research to life every day. For further information, visit http://www.nybloodcenter.org/lfkri.do?sid0=64

About New York Blood Center: New York Blood Center (NYBC) is one of the nation's largest non-profit, community-based blood centers. For 50 years, NYBC has been providing blood, transfusion products and services to hospitals serving more than 20 million people in New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut and Pennsylvania. NYBC is also home to the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute and the National Cord Blood Program at the Howard P. Milstein National Cord Blood Center, the world's largest public cord blood bank. NYBC provides medical services and programs (Clinical, Transfusion, and Hemophilia Services) through our medical professionals along with consultative services in transfusion medicine. Please visit us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/newyorkbloodcenter. Follow us on Twitter: @NY_BloodCenter. Website:  www.nybloodcenter.org.

Contact: Jim Fox, 212.570.3220, [email protected]

SOURCE New York Blood Center