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CR2O co-development of a vaccine against MERS virus gets international support

18 September 2018 – PRESS RELEASE
CEPI (the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) supports the development and manufacture of a vaccine against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), that is transmitted to humans by dromedary camels, after which spread among humans may occur. The promising vaccine candidate, that was first tested successfully in dromedary camels was subsequently advanced by the German Center of Infection Research (DZIF) up to clinical phase I. Next development activities will now be performed by IDT Biologika and a MERS-CoV Vaccine Consortium of scientific and clinical organizations, which include CR2O.

MERS Corona virus particles outside the cell© NIAID

First identified in 2012, MERS-CoV is carried by camels and spread to humans by droplet infection of the airways. Infection can cause respiratory disease including fever and cough that can progress into severe pneumonia. About 35{725739403e7fa824517ab8ea287935ed3f6d78804b71c546ca71fb425043e7f1} of reported patients with MERS-CoV have died and the WHO has highlighted MERS-CoV as a priority disease for research and development in view of its epidemic potential. No vaccine is currently available.

The vaccine candidate from DZIF is based on a recombinant Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA) vector with an inserted MERS gene. IDT Biologika developed a proprietary cell substrate for large-scale production of the MVA based vaccine. The first generation of the MVA-MERS vaccine is being assessed in an ongoing clinical trial at DZIF. The publication of first results is prepared.

’This is an exciting example of how in a One Health Approach, innovative academic research into combatting emerging zoonotic infections at the source, paves the way to contain the threat of future human epidemics in a Public-Private-Partnership.
Prof. dr. Ab Osterhaus

Chief Scientific Officer

About MERS-CoV Vaccine Consortium

The development activities will be performed by a MERS-CoV Vaccine Consortium of IDT Biologika, CR2O, DZIF and Viroscience Department at the Erasmus Medical Center.

About CR2O

CR2O is a full service academic CRO, specialized in managing and operating clinical development activities towards infectious disease interventions. In the past decade, CR2O clinical experts contributed to >400 clinical trials in over 30 countries. CR2O expertise includes clinical development planning, regulatory and scientific advice, study feasibility, and the entire management of clinical trials (including data management, biostatistics, pharmacovigilance, quality management, medical writing). Headquartered in Amsterdam, CR2O will continue to combine its scientific expertise and operational excellence to meet unmet medical needs in the virology field. More information can be found at

About CEPI

CEPI is an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic and civil organizations founded in Davos in 2017 to develop vaccines to stop future epidemics. Since its launch in January 2017, CEPI has announced two Calls for Proposals. The first was for candidate vaccines against MERS-CoV, Nipah and Lassa viruses. The second call demanded the development of platforms that can be used for rapid vaccine development against unknown pathogens. Learn more at

About IDT Biologika

IDT Biologika is an innovative, privately-held company with nearly 100 years of experience in researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing products for the global protection of human and animal health. The company produces vaccines and pharmaceuticals according to the highest quality standards, for its own animal health products and under contract. Further information can be found on the website of IDT Biologika

More information

Link to formal Press Release CEPI and IDT

CR2O is very excited and proud to be part of this vaccine development consortium, representing some of the world-leading infectious disease institutions and experts. We are committed to battle this deadly disease through supporting the clinical stages in the development of this candidate vaccine against the MERS virus.
Hadil Es-Sbai

Chief Executive Officer