Tag Archive: #EAVI2020

  1. EAVI2020 Partner-Focused Stories: IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute

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    It’s time to take a look at one of EAVI2020’s partners, Fundació Privada Institut de Recerca de la Sida-Caixa (IrsiCaixa) situated in Barcelona, Spain. We had a quick chat with Dr Christian Brander leading the research at IrsiCaixa to learn more about the foundation and what they do.

    Image: The Team from left: Sandra Silva Arrieta (Research fellow), Clara Duran (PhD student), Bruna Oriol (PhD student), Christian Brander (Investigator), Luis Romero (PhD student), Alex Olvera (Research fellow), Marta Ruiz-Riol (Research fellow), Miriam Roses (PhD student), Samandhy Cedeno (Research fellow), Tuixent Escriba (Technician), Anuska Llano (Research fellow), Beatrize Mothe (Investigator)

    What is it like being part of this EU-funded project?

    EAVI2020 is undoubtedly the most relevant and comprehensive ongoing EU research consortium tackling HIV vaccine development. The wide range of expertise in the project provides ample opportunity for collaboration and exploring novel concepts to achieve our ultimate goal of developing therapeutic and prophylactic HIV vaccines. [EAVI2020’s] consortium brings together many of the smartest and most enjoyable investigators in Europe from a number of overseas partner institution. Working in this consortium is great fun and a privilege.

    How does IrsiCaixa connect with the HIV/AIDS community?

    We have been working closely with at-risk populations and have been able to include many participants with existing HIV infection, highly exposed uninfected individuals, and individuals with a number of other co-infections into our studies. As well as basic and clinical studies including clinical trials, we have created the HIVACAT community advisory committee. This is a central group of community representatives that help us understand the needs and expectations of the community and in turn, allows us to conduct outreach work, training and dissemination of our scientific activities.

     Tell us about the IrsiCaixa’s greatest achievement. Is there a key moment in IrsiCaixa’s history?

    IrsiCaixa has more than 25 years track record of basic and clinical investigation into HIV and AIDS. The IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute was created as a private non-profit foundation in 1995 with the support of “la Caixa” and the Ministry of Health of the Government of Catalonia.  Together with Hospital Clinic in Barcelona, IrsiCaixa is the main institution of the HIVACAT program; the Barcelona-based program for the development of an HIV vaccine. IrsiCaixa has been one of the most productive and successful HIV research institutions.  Its direct access to the HIV outpatient clinic located next door in the Foundation Fight against HIV is possibly one of the hallmarks and ensures close collaboration between scientist, doctors, and patients.

    How did Irsicaixa get involved in EAVI2020?

    IrsiCaixa was involved since 2009 in the EU-funded CUTHIVAC EU FP7 consortium, in which several of the partners in EAVI2020 already collaborated on the development of transcutaneous vaccine strategies.  Through these interactions, the idea was born to form a consortium to apply with the EAVI2020 project. 

    What is IrsiCaixa’s role in EAVI2020?

    IrsiCaixa is leading work packages related to T cell immunogen design and vaccine production. We are also heavily involved in the conduct of clinical trials, testing different prime-boost regimens (vaccine strategy) of EAVI2020´s different T cell immunogens.  Given that we had conducted some clinical trials in CUTHIVAC as well as, more recently, the Barcelona-based BCN01 and BCN02-Romi therapeutic vaccine clinical trials, we also had the opportunity to explore biomarkers (a characteristic of a biological process) of HIV control in this setting and thus contribute also to the work on biomarkers and assay refinement.

     How important is it for IrsiCaixa’s to participate in international collaborations such as EAVI2020?

    Participation in EU consortia is critical for IrsiCaixa, given that national funding sources are scarce and very few national programs exist that are of sufficient duration to allow young scientist to start building their careers towards independent investigators.  EU consortia are also a great opportunity for PhD students to gain insights into other labs and groups across Europe. EAVI2020 has a particularly strong PhD training and exchange program from which all our PhD students in the groups have profited and continue to profit.

    IRSICAIXA was founded in 1995 as a private non-profit foundation located in Barcelona, Spain. The institute has over 60 researchers who focus on basic research to understand HIV infection mechanisms and develop new therapies and vaccines. The foundation also participates in clinical studies to evaluate new therapeutic strategies and cooperates with low-income countries.

    Role in EAVI2020

    Irsicaixa will further the design of T cell immunogen sequences and test their in vivo immunogenicity in the context of multiple different vectors in animal models and human clinical trials with a special focus on therapeutic vaccine approaches.

  2. A vaccine revolution. Where do we begin?

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    EAVI2020 coordinator, Prof Robin Shattock lead the recent Imperial Global Science Policy Forum which focussed on global challenges surrounding vaccines and the latest research in vaccine technology.

    EAVI coordinator, Prof Robin Shattock presented at the recent Imperial Global Science Policy Forum in May 2019; a high-profile network which hosts a programme of events focussing on some of the most important global challenges. The theme for this iteration focussed on contemporary challenges of vaccine development.

    “Vaccination is one of the most effective medical interventions ever introduced”

    Prof. Robin Shattock

    As director of the Future Vaccine Manufacturing Research (FMV) Hub, which is looking to transform how we manufacture vaccines for developing countries, Robin spoke about the main challenges in the current landscape, which include antibiotic resistance, cost of manufacturing, and public awareness and push back. This led to a mapping of the strategies FMV Hub have put in place to tackle these challenges. He detailed how a revolutionary model of vaccine development and distribution – a hub-and-spoke model as a simplified description – will produce benefits and impact from global to local levels.

    Robin sitting with three other people while a crowd ask questions in the Q&A session

    “Rise in antibiotic resistance is increasingly becoming a problem”.

    Prof Robin Shattock

    Robin was joined by fellow researchers from Imperial also bringing forth their innovative studies to vaccine development, Professor Wendy Barclay from Virology and Professor Jason Hallet from Natural Resource Engineering. The presentations were delivered in PechaKucha format; a simple presentation style where the images advance automatically after 20 seconds and presenters talk along to the images. This was effective and connected the audiences to the content and to each speaker.

    “Vaccine discovery and development is a very risky business…[but] we are already beginning to make a difference in vaccine technology”

    Prof Robin Shattock
    Robin sitting with three other people while a crowd ask questions in the Q&A session
    [From left] Prof Danny Altmann (chair), Prof Robin Shattock, Prof Jason Hallett, and Prof Wendy Barclay

    Robin thus gave a speedy but succinct 6-minute presentation on the establishment of international collaborations aimed to accelerate the search for an effective HIV vaccine. Much like the work going on in EAVI2020 this involves preclinical identification, development and selection of HIV microbicide and vaccine candidates.

    Go to the website for more information on the strategies, impact and benefit of the Future Vaccine Manufacturing Research (FMV) Hub.

  3. Online ePanel discussion and SciTalk presentations on HIV research with EAVI2020 partners

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    The eAccess Meetings project

    In 2016, The Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise and Keystone Symposia inaugurated a collaboration to produce an ePanel discussion and series of SciTalks presentations that brought together key experts in the HIV prevention vaccine field.

    Following the great response to the inaugural video series, to which EAVI2020 also contributed with two presentations, the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise in collaboration with Keystone Symposia has now presented the second series of eAccess Meetings: 2017 Keystone Symposia on HIV Vaccines.

    EAVI2020’s participates in an ePanel discussion and SciTalks presentations

    As part of the eAccess Meetings project, EAVI2020 participated in an ePanel discussion on Antibody Functions Beyond Neutralization with Prof Robin Shattock as a panellist (Imperial College) and Dr Gabriella Scarlatti (Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise) as moderator.

    The ePanel discussion is available online and can be found on the Enterprise web portal or on their YouTube Channel playlist.

    screenshots of TV frame of Gabriella Scarlatti and Robin Shattock

    Additionally, Gunilla Karlsson Hedestam and Paola Martinez Murillo (Karolinska Institutet) also participated in the SciTalks with presentations on “Individualized profiling of germline antibody V genes” and “F9, a new class of antibodies that neutralizes autologous tier 2 viruses in NHP immunized with liposome conjugated well-ordered trimers”.

    SciTalks can also be accessed on the Enterprise web portal or on their YouTube Channel playlist.

    screenshots of TV frames of Gunilla Karlsson Hedestam and Paola Martinez-Murillo


    More information

    eAccess Meetings: 2017 Keystone Symposia on HIV Vaccines.

    For more information about EAVI2020, please contact us.

  4. Marit van Gils wins the Beijerinck Premium award from the Royal Dutch Academy of Science.

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    The Beijerinck Premium is intended to encourage virology research and is awarded every two years.

    Marit van Gils is a post-doc researcher at Academisch Medisch Centrum and is part of the team working in EAVI2020. This award is given to young post-doc researchers in recognition of outstanding virus-related research at a Dutch scientific organisation.
    The ceremony will take place on the 3rd March 2017.

    More information
    For more information please go to the Beijerinck Premium’s website.

  5. Presentations from EAVI2020 partners at the 2016 Keystone Symposia on HIV Vaccines are available online!

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    The Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise in collaboration with Keystone Symposia organized an ePanel discussion and series of SciTalks presentations that brought together key experts in the HIV prevention vaccine field.

    The ePanel and SciTalks addressed a broad range of topics pertinent to state-of-the-art HIV vaccine research. As part of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise eAccess Meetings initiative, videos of several presentations recorded onsite at the 2016 Keystone Symposia on HIV Vaccines are available.

    EAVI2020 – present at the 2016 Keystone Symposia on HIV Vaccines

    The Keystone Symposia highlighted cutting-edge scientific developments and challenges in the field in 90-minute sessions that included SciTalk presentations by EAVI2020 Partners:

    Professor Tomas Hanke, from the University of Oxford, presented “A novel conserved-region T-cell mosaic vaccine with very high global coverage of HIV-1 variants is recognized by protective responses in chronic untreated infection” and his presentation is available as a webcast.

    Dr Marit van Gils, from Academisch Medisch Centrum, received the New Investigator Award at HIVR4P and presented “A broadly neutralizing antibody from an elite neutralizer, targets a novel site at the gp120-gp41 interface”. Her presentation is available as a webcast.

    More information

    eAccess Meetings past presentations.
    For more information about EAVI2020, please contact us.

  6. 2nd Phd training course, Barcelona, 9 Nov 2016

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    Fundació Clínic per a la Recerca Biomèdica and Karolinska Institutet organised the Second course on HIV immunology and vaccines in Barcelona, 9th November 2016.

    Twenty four students from all over Europe joined this advanced training session on HIV immunology and vaccines for top PhD students across Europe hosted by the School of Medicine, University of Barcelona.

    EAVI2020 principal investigators lead the presentations and discussions and, as part of the training, PhD students prepared poster presentations, which were displayed for over 70 people at the EAVI2020 first annual meeting on the 10th and 11th November 2016.

    students sitting in a lecture room two men in lab coats talking to a room of students Tomas Hanke talking to students in a lecture room Joseph Munne talking to a lecture room of students

    For more information about EAVI2020, please contact us.


  7. EAVI2020 at the “Toolkits for DNA vaccine design, an update” conference in Moscow

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    17-21 November 2016

    Dr Joan Joseph from Fundació Clínic per a la Recerca Biomèdica presented lessons learned on “Pre-clinical development of recombinant BCG based HIV vaccine” at the event, which took place at the Mechninov´s Institute of Vaccine and Sera in Moscow from the 17th to 21st November 2016.

    The conference covered the whole area of DNA vaccine design starting from gene design, defining of transcription and translation signals, packaging, delivery, induction of innate immune response and role of adjuvants, induction and expansion of adaptive immune response, prime and boost strategies, success of DNA vaccines in cancer and infectious diseases, comparison of DNA vaccines to other vaccine modalities.

    Representatives of R&D companies and state agencies involved in the development, production and distribution of vaccines were also invited to discuss the business models for DNA vaccines, public perception of the vaccines and their perspectives for human and veterinarian use.

    More information on the International Conference “Toolkits for DNA vaccine design, an update”.

  8. EAVI2020’s first year of research!

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    Coinciding with the project’s one year anniversary, we are excited to publish the fourth issue of the EAVI2020 Newsletter!

    In this issue we have covered our upcoming EAVI2020 first annual meeting and 2nd PhD course on HIV vaccines and immunology.

    You can also find links to international HIV related papers and a list of upcoming events where you will find us.

    Sign-up to receive EAVI2020’s quarterly Newsletter and find out about the latest project developments as they arise!

    The EAVI2020 team at work this past year!:

    Robin Shattock speaking at a lectern in a large glass room with peopleGabriella Scarlatti and Philip Mundsperger smiling in a room of people, next to a sign for the Vaccine Manufacturing Workshop   Marit van Gils standing at a HIVR4P deskJoseph Munne on stage presenting an EAVI2020 seminar Anna Janna Behrens on stage at a lectern presenting at a conferencepeople sitting at rectangle tables engaged in conversation

  9. EAVI2020 partner focused stories: INSERM

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    The Center for Immunology and Microbial Infection (CIMI-Paris) is a research unit of Inserm – Institut National de Santé et de Recherche Médicale (French National Institutes of Health).

    At CIMI-Paris and within the EAVI2020 program Behazine Combadière (Director of research, Inserm), Vincent Vieillard (Director of research, CNRS) and Patrice Debré (Professor, Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital) will be looking at mechanism of immunogenicity and biomarkers of vaccine efficacy to accelerate identification of novel HIV vaccine candidates.

    Behazine Combadiere‘s Immunity and vaccination Lab

    The Immunity and vaccination Lab is trying to improve current methods of vaccination against infectious diseases. Previous to EAVI2020, Behazine Combadiere coordinated the CUT’HIVAC consortium, highly involved in the field of HIV vaccination in FP7, which lead to the implantation of 4 HIV vaccine clinical trials in collaboration with ICL (UK), Irsicaixa (Spain) and Impacta (Perou).

    We have a special interest in modulating innate immunity to shape the right quality of adaptive immunity by studying different vaccine formulations, adjuvants and routes of administration. The major achievement of the team is the development of skin vaccination methods from bench to clinical development (Trancutaneous vaccination, J Invest Derm 2006, J. Immunol. 2008, PlosOne 2010) as well as the study of early innate inflammatory processes (J Immunol cutting edge 2012, Immunity 2012, Nat Com 2015). To improve vaccination strategies, we seek to understand all the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the immune response to vaccines, adjuvants and against viral infections (J Exp. Med. 2004, J. Clin. Invest. 2010, J Immunol 2013 J. Clin. Invest. 2014). Our project integrates basic research, and the transfer of knowledge to clinical trials in humans.

    Dissection by systems biology approaches

    Our participation in EAVI2020 is to dissect by systems biology approaches, early biomarkers of vaccine efficacy against HIV in humans. Dissection of early innate cellular and molecular biomarkers will help in prediction of vaccine efficacy and amelioration of vaccination strategies for a safe and efficient HIV vaccine.

    Vincent Vieillard’s NK cells and pathologies Lab

    In the last decade, the NK cells and pathologies lab has developed a new vaccine strategy based on a highly specific and conserved motif of the gp41 HIV-1 protein, called 3S (Proc Natl Acad USA 2005). This motif induces the expression of NKp44L, the cellular ligand of an activating NK receptor (NKp44) (Blood 2013), rendering CD4+ T cells sensitive to NK lysis. NKp44L expression is strongly correlated with both the decline of CD4 cell count, and other side effects (OncoTarget 2016). A 3S vaccine strategy was tested in SHIV-infected macaques (Proc Natl Acad USA 2008, Vaccine 2012), and still in progress in clinical trials. More recently, we generated an adapted-3S peptide, called W614A-3S, able to elicit neutralizing antibodies in different animal models (Clin Infect Dis 2013, Personal data).

    Testing of different vaccine formulations

    Our participation in EAVI2020 is to test different vaccine formulations, based on the W614A-3S peptide, to favor the highest level of broadly neutralizing activity. The ultimate goal is to obtain an in vivo proof-of-concept in a non-human primate model of HIV infection, before starting a first-in-human study.

  10. EAVI2020 will be at HIVR4P, Chicago, 17-21 October 2016

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    EAVI2020’s partner institutions will be at the HIVR4P Conference in Chicago this week.

    HIV Research for Prevention 2016: AIDS Vaccine, Microbicide, and ARV-based Prevention Science (HIVR4P 2016) will be held 17–21 October 2016 in Chicago, USA.

    HIVR4P is the world’s only scientific meeting dedicated exclusively to the latest research on all forms of biomedical HIV prevention. Through both abstract and non-abstract-driven sessions, HIVR4P supports cross-fertilization among research on HIV vaccines, microbicides, PrEP, treatment as prevention, and other biomedical prevention approaches, while also providing a venue to discuss the research findings, questions, and priorities that are specific to each modality. We expect this cutting-edge, global conference to attract between 1,200 and 1,500 leaders in HIV prevention research, programs, and policy to Chicago.

    More information

    Find more information about the HIVR4P Conference at their website.

    For more information about EAVI2020, please contact us.

    The EAVI2020 team at HIVR4P:

    Pepe Alcami talking behind a lectern

    Pepe Alcami, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Spain

    Stephen Kent talking behind a lectern on stage

    Stephen Kent, the University of Melbourne, Australia

    Yoann Aldon talking behind a lectern on stage

    Yoann Aldon, Imperial College London, UK

    Anna Janna Behrens on stage at a lectern presenting at a conference

    Anna-Janna Behrens, University of Oxford, UK

    Marit van Gils standing at a HIVR4P desk

    Marit van Gils, Academisch Medisch Centrum, The Netherlands