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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

Johns Hopkins: NIH Renews Contract with the Center for Immunization Research to Continue the Development and Evaluation of Lifesaving Vaccines

The Johns Hopkins Center for Immunization Research will continue its partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health (NIH), to develop vaccines for infectious diseases of global importance. The clinical studies will be led by Drs. Ruth Karron and Anna Durbin, professors in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Department of International Health. Areas of initial emphasis for this contract — up to $73 million for 7 years — will include the evaluation of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), dengue, and Zika vaccines.

RSV, the leading cause of pneumonia in infants and young children worldwide, causes up to 33 million cases of lower respiratory illness and 118,000 deaths in children under five. Dr. Karron leads the work on clinical evaluation of live-attenuated pediatric RSV vaccines developed at the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). “We are making rapid progress in the development of a safe and effective RSV vaccine for infants and young children,” Dr. Karron says. “We look forward to continuing this work with our NIH colleagues, which will speed the development of vaccines that are critically important for global equity and well-being.”

Dengue virus is a leading cause of illness and hospitalization within the tropics and subtropics. There are as many as 400 million cases worldwide per year with 500,000 resulting in hospitalization and 25,000 in death. Zika virus can lead to microcephaly, preterm birth, and miscarriage of the fetus if contracted during pregnancy. “This contract renewal is critical to the development and evaluation of safe and effective dengue and Zika vaccines, and to the development of a controlled human infection model for Zika, which may be critical for the efficacy evaluation of any candidate Zika vaccine,” Dr. Durbin explains.

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