CORDIS - EU research results

Development of a prophylactic vaccine and diagnostic markers to prevent and diagnose lyme borreliosis specific to Europe and North America

Final Report Summary - BOVAC (Development of a prophylactic vaccine and diagnostic markers to prevent and diagnose Lyme Borreliosis specific to Europe and North America)

The ultimate aim of the BOVAC project was to identify vaccine candidates to develop a prophylactic vaccine against Lyme borreliosis, as well as identify novel diagnostic markers enabling the early and reliant diagnosis of disease to allow proper treatment of patients. In order to reach these goals the project performed the following activities:
- it collected and characterised several hundred human sera from pre-existing collections obtained from patients with various clinical manifestations of Lyme borreliosis and identify sera with high-antibody titres suitable for antigen screening and purify immunoglobulins;
- it prepared genomic libraries from Borrelia for bacterial surface display and applied them using the state-of-the-art genome-wide screening method developed at Intercell (IC) for identification of antigenic proteins from Borrelia;
- it determined the genomic sequence of Borrelia afzelii and provided an annotation to enable the selection of common candidate antigens from the three Borrelia genospecies causing Lyme borreliosis in Europe, as well as diagnostic markers by bioinformatics;
- it validated the identified and predicted antigens in order to select potential vaccine candidates to be tested in animal models of infection and purify recombinant proteins;
- it selected protective antigens against Lyme borreliosis by experimental animal models using recombinant proteins in order to develop a prophylactic vaccine. It also provided first toxicology data for the protective antigens;
- it identified candidate diagnostic markers specific for Lyme borreliosis by serological screening of antigens with human sera obtained during the epidemiological study, as well as with existing serum collections;
- it defined possible functions of protective antigens in pathogenesis of Borrelia to support further development of vaccine candidates.