The Vaccine Group (TVG), a University of Plymouth spinout company, is to play a central role in a multi-million-dollar project to protect US military forces from Ebola, Lassa fever and other deadly zoonotic viruses that jump from animals to humans.
The company, established by Dr Michael Jarvis, is a principal partner in an international team of scientists awarded up to $9.37 million (£7.2 million) by the US government’s Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (the “Agency” or “DARPA”).
The three-and-a-half-year project, part of the Preventing Emerging Pathogenic Threats (PREEMPT) program, is to predict where zoonotic viruses might arise and then prevent them from spilling over into humans. It is being led by the One Health Institute in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and the Center for Comparative Medicine in the UC Davis schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.
TVG’s role will be to develop novel vaccine approaches to enable scalable vaccination of remote and hard-to-reach wildlife animal populations that harbour these zoonotic viruses.
The other partners will work on analytic tools to predict when a zoonotic virus in a geographic hot spot is most likely to make the jump from animals into humans.