Service de néonatologie au CHU Hôtel-Dieu de Nantes, Hôpital Mère et Enfant. Les bébés prématurés y restent en couveuse jusqu'à la date théorique de leur naissance.

Towards the First Pediatric Vaccine against Bronchiolitis

Towards the First Pediatric Vaccine against Bronchiolitis

INRA and its partner DBV Technologies were just granted €600 000 by the French National Research Agency (ANR) to coordinate their know-how and develop an innovative and non-invasive vaccine against bronchiolitis. This subsidy launches a pre-clinical phase which will confirm the feasibility of a vaccine delivered via a skin patch for children under 2 years old.

The respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the principal cause of pediatric bronchiolitis (human RSV) and calf pneumonia (bovine RSV). Currently, no human vaccine exists, and those aimed at bovines are not efficient enough. Yet, it is a particularly contagious disease affecting almost all children under 2 and accounting for more than 60% of respiratory diseases observed in dairy herds and up to 70% in meat producing herds. In few cases, the infection can lead to the infant’s hospitalization. Moreover, infants who have had severe bronchiolitis are at increased risk to develop asthma in later years. These viruses thus represent a major issue in animal and human health.

Two teams from the INRA research unit “Molecular Virology and Immunology” in Jouy-en-Josas, France, developed a molecule formed with proteins of the virus that are well conserved among bovine and human strains. These particles are formed by assembling this protein in a ring shape nanometer-sized structure. Exposing mice or calves to these entities activates immune defenses which confer a good protection against the virus.

Recent studies from the same INRA teams led to an improved ring comprising other virus elements that are important to increase the vaccine’s efficiency. For its part, DBV Technologies has developed a patented technology allowing the administration of an allergen/antigen with a cutaneous patch (Viaskin®). In partnership with INRA, the company managed to load the patch with the vaccine. Putting together scientific knowledge and technologies developed by INRA and DBV Technologies would thus lead to the development of the first pediatric vaccine, that is non-invasive and without adjuvant, and efficient through skin.

The pre-clinical phase, which was granted €600 000 by ANR and will last for 30 months, will prove the concept of a patch vaccine, on several animal models, notably the pig whose skin is similar to man’s. This R&D success illustrates the benefits given by the “One Health” approach, when integrated projects bring together scientific knowledge in both medical and veterinary research. Public and veterinary health will both benefit from the expected achievements of this partnership.

Publication date : 30 September 2013 | Redactor : INRA Press Service