Vaccines are among the cheapest and most effective means of combating infectious diseases.

Given that billions of vaccine doses are administered around the world every year, development of strategies, methods and tools to ensure the efficacy and safety of vaccines represents a high-priority global health issue.

BioVacSafe, a collaborative project launched in March 2012, has gathered together international research institutes, small-scale entrepreneurs and big pharmaceutical companies to develop next-generation vaccines, which will be both safer and more effective.

Researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy and Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden are participating in the project.

Based on the latest research findings, the participants will study the body’s response to vaccines at the cellular, molecular and genetic levels. A total of EUR 30.2 million will be devoted to BioVacSafe – EUR 17.5 million of which will come from the EU by way of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI).

“The first step involves the development of immunological biomarkers that can serve as warning signals that vaccines may become overreactive,” says Ali Harandi, who is coordinating the participation of Sahlgrenska Academy and the University of Gothenburg in the project.

“We also want to improve our ability to study the adverse effects of vaccines and their interplay with the immune system, particularly in terms of inflammatory reactions.”

BioVacSafe is an independent research initiative based on collaboration between the private sector, researchers, biotech companies, legislators and patient organisations. The five-year project is being coordinated by the University of Surrey with support by the Innovative Medicines Initiative, a partnership between the EU and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA).

Ali Harandi, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Biomedicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
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