MRIGlobal yesterday announced that it has been awarded a $6.2 million, 5-year program from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) for the development of a vaccine for tularemia.
The award continues a long-standing international co-operation to develop a tularemia vaccine.
Tularemia is a disease of animals and humans caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. Rabbits, hares, and rodents are especially susceptible to tularemia and often die during outbreaks. Humans can become infected in several ways including tick and deer fly bites; skin contact with infected animals; ingestion of contaminated water; inhalation of contaminated dust or aerosols; and acts of bioterrorism.
“This award builds upon our 2002 commitment to deliver a tularemia vaccine to the U.S. Government,” said Thomas M. Sack, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of MRIGlobal. “We are honored to lead the collaboration with this distinguished team of researchers.”
Previous efforts and cooperation among US and foreign entities generated a vaccine that was less reactive and more protective than other tularemia vaccine candidates. The current award will help to advance the new vaccine candidate by supporting scaled-up manufacturing, large animal studies, and studies aimed at understanding how the vaccine produces immunity.