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Vaccine for prevention and treatment of Trypanosoma cruzi infection

Project description

A new vaccine for the killer disease Chagas

Vector-borne diseases, spread by organisms such as pathogen-carrying insects, account for more than 17 % of all infectious diseases and they disproportionately affect people in the poorest populations. One of those is Chagas disease, prevalent mainly in Latin American countries. In severe cases, Chagas disease can cause congestive heart failure and cardiac arrest. CRUZIVAX is taking a needle-free vaccine candidate from preclinical trials in mice through to a Phase I clinical trial in healthy volunteers. Even better, the study includes low-cost manufacturing and a health economics analysis to support widespread access by healthcare systems in poor countries that are the most vulnerable.


Chagas is a neglected disease endemic in 21 Latin-American countries caused by Trypanosoma cruzi. It is the largest parasitic disease burden in the Americas (>11,000,000 chronic infections) and the first cause of cardiac morbidity in poor rural/suburban areas. It became a worldwide concern as a result of mass migration with reports in 19 non-endemic areas (>1.3 million carriers in EU/USA). Treatment is difficult since acute infections have mild symptoms and remain largely unnoticed evolving to chronicity. Drug therapy is also long, often associated with side effects (10-30% interruption) and only active during early infection. The main objective of CRUZIVAX is to bridge the gap between preclinical and clinical development by performing preclinical and clinical phase 1 studies of a needle-free vaccine against T. cruzi with proven efficacy in preclinical models. The vaccine is based on a structure-engineered trivalent chimeric antigen lacking immune decoy sequences and an adjuvant promoting self-limited locally-restricted immune activation stimulating humoral and cellular immunity, which is expected to protect as prophylactic or therapeutic (combined with Benznidazole) vaccine. To achieve this CRUZIVAX will: (i) conduct preclinical studies in mice to assess immunogenicity and efficacy of different vaccine formulations in prophylactic and therapeutic settings, (ii) analyse the immunogenicity and efficacy of the best vaccine formulation in dogs and non-human primates, (iii) produce cGMP antigen and adjuvant by cost-efficient manufacturing (facilitated uptake by health systems with limited resources), (iv) perform a preclinical safety assessment of the vaccine, (v) conduct a phase 1 vaccine clinical trial in healthy volunteers, and (vi) carry out a health economics analysis to identify critical target-product profile parameters. The vaccine will strengthen the pipeline of products for Chagas disease, aimed at reducing disease burden and its social and economic impact.

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 2 070 198,15
38124 Braunschweig

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Niedersachsen Braunschweig Braunschweig, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
No data

Participants (10)