The successful development of new vaccines depends on the interaction of industrial expertise for vaccine design and engineering with academic understanding of the mechanisms of protection afforded by the immune responses they elicit. Close interaction between both sectors expedites vaccine development and, in the context of global health, this can translate to the saving of thousands of lives. The VADER (Vaccine Design and Immune Responses) EID programme, established between the Novartis Vaccines Institute for Global Health (NVGH) in Italy and University of Birmingham (UoB) in the UK, will train four talented clinical and non-clinical fellows at the interface between academia and industry. NVGH is a company with a mission to develop affordable and effective vaccines against infectious diseases of impoverished communities in the developing world. Its first vaccine, against Salmonella Typhi, is in clinical trails in South-East Asia, with vaccines against Salmonella Paratyphi, nontyphoidal Salmonella, meningococcus and Shigella in preclinical development. UoB is an international leader in investigating immune responses to bacteria, particularly Salmonellae, and in relating immunity to microbial antigens. The two institutions have forged strong links over the last year which form the framework of the VADER programme. The fellows will work on four related projects embedded within existing vaccine programmes at NVGH where they will work as part of a team of scientists. With vaccines in clinical trials, trainees will be able to explore immune responses in human vaccinees as well as animals. In their projects, they will be trained in vaccine design and immunology and learn how differences in vaccine engineering affect immune responses. By working on both industrial and academic sides of vaccine development they receive a research training in translational and transferable skills and learn how both sectors can synergise in vaccine development.
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