BactiVac

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Institute of Immunology & Immunotherapy

Abstract

Vaccines save millions of lives every year and typically work silently in the background, promoting the body's ability to kill the pathogen before an infection is established. Despite this, bacteria still cause around six millions deaths/year in humans and many more in animals, with people in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) disproportionately affected. Worryingly, as anti-microbial resistance (AMR) increases, the number of deaths from infection will rise with devastating personal and economic consequences. One reason bacteria can cause so much harm is because there are many different diseases caused by bacteria for which there is either no vaccine or the existing vaccine does not provide complete protection. New vaccines against bacterial infections will help people in all countries, but most prominently in LMICs. Unfortunately, there are many barriers that currently prevent such vaccines from being developed. These barriers can be for scientific reasons, such as what to put in the vaccine, or economic issues, such as neglect due to lack of commercial viability. To help overcome these barriers and deliver new vaccines to where they are needed, a network is needed that enables scientists, clinicians and companies from around the world to come together and share their skills and knowledge.

This is what the 'BactiVac' bacterial vaccinology network for human and animal vaccines will achieve. The network will be centred in the UK, harnessing the considerable strength already present in the UK in disciplines related to bacterial vaccinology, including immunology, epidemiology, systems biology, clinical trials and support for vaccine licensure. Crucially, the network will build on and foster new partnerships with LMICs, with industry, and manufacturers in developing countries. BactiVac will support bacterial vaccine development from when the idea is conceived to when it is licensed for use in humans or animals, particularly helping at those points where most potential vaccines flounder.

The network will achieve these ambitions by combining a number of approaches.

1. The network will identify which diseases in LMICs caused by bacteria should be prioritised and how the broad vaccine community can be helped to make new vaccines that prevent them.

2. We will provide training grants, particularly for members from LMICs, to learn the skills needed to grow the research and industrial base in vaccinology.

3. By interconnecting the diverse experience and skills within the membership, we will facilitate new partnerships and sharing of information, supported by the creation of a member directory, a BactiVac website and regular newsfeeds, along with an annual networking meeting.

4. To encourage these new partnerships, the network will support small scale 'catalyst' projects through an open annual competition. These projects will grow new areas and partnerships to encourage larger scale funding, accelerate vaccine development and to help overcome the bottlenecks that prevent vaccines going from an idea to a product.

5. Underpinning all of these focused activities BactiVac will provide an advocacy programme that promotes the importance, need and value of vaccines to bacterial infections. This programme will work with the general public, governments and ministries of health, and non-governmental organisations, including key stake-holders in global health policy, such as the WHO and other funding organisations.

Collectively, this will lead to a growth in research and development of new vaccines against bacterial infections and improve lives across the world.

Technical Summary

Bacterial infections are major contributors to the global burden of disease among humans and animals in LMICs, hampering development. They are particularly problematic where diagnostic facilities are lacking, and treatments are increasingly compromised by the scourge of antimicrobial resistance. Prevention through vaccination is an efficient and cost-effective strategy, but for many bacterial infections, no suitable vaccine is available. A network that champions bacterial vaccinology has the transforming potential to advance bacterial vaccines for LMICs, save lives and promote economic growth. Such a network does not currently exist and is needed now. The network will complement the active and strong support already present for viral outbreak pathogens through the 'UK Vaccines Network' and WHO 'R&D Roadmap' and 'CEPI' initiatives.

BactiVac seeks to redress the current imbalance in global vaccinology, with its vision to facilitate end-to-end LMIC human and animal bacterial vaccine development. It will focus on the transition of promising vaccines from preclinical studies to clinical trials, where many flounder. Bringing together diverse parties with expertise in complementary aspects of bacterial vaccinology and a strong emphasis on LMIC and industry involvement, will help galvanise the community, foster new partnership and disseminate key relevant information. This will be supported by a members directory, website, newsfeeds and annual meetings. Two landscape scoping exercises will assess LMIC priority bacterial diseases for vaccine development and industrial capacities to support translation and clinical development of these vaccines. Catalyst funding will support innovative bacterial vaccine R&D projects and partnerships, and training opportunities to transfer vaccinology skills to LMICs. The network will serves as a global voice for bacterial vaccinology through advocacy initiatives targeting ministries of health and global health policy makers and funders.

Planned Impact

1. LMIC impact
a) Country-wide
The chief beneficiaries of BactiVac are the LMICs where the vaccines, whose development has been supported by the network, will be deployed. Since the network encompasses human and animal bacterial vaccines, the benefit will be to human health through reduced disease morbidity and mortality, and improved food security, with economic development as the end result. This benefit will be felt at the level of the individual, community and country, both in relation to health and economic benefit, as improved health is key to driving development.

b) Priority transformation
Given that a new vaccine takes around 10 years to develop and costs a minimum of $800 million (MacLennan CA and Saul A; PNAS 2013), the full benefit from the network will not just be through direct bacterial vaccine R&D support, but by a change in overall global health culture and positioning of LMIC bacterial vaccine development in the global landscape. This will depend on establishing an effective global presence and voice, and successfully advocating on behalf of bacterial vaccinology. Hence, the BactiVac network can potentially serve a transformational role to effect change in prevailing global vaccine prioritisation and investment to a position that fully encompasses bacterial and more endemic diseases.

Manufacturing
A more immediate LMIC economic impact will be the expansion of vaccine manufacturing capacity, resulting from successful transitioning of new vaccines into clinical development. Developing country vaccine manufacturers are well placed to take on new vaccines that have been de-risked by transition through to successful clinical proof of concept (e.g. tech transfer of bivalent typhoid/paratyphoid A glycoconjugate vaccine from Novartis Vaccines Institute for Global Health to Biological E, India in 2014). Since this is the vaccine pipeline focus area of BactiVac, an increased number of vaccines should move through to clinical development.

Research Capacity Building
With a strong focus on LMIC involvement in all aspects of BactiVac and prioritisation of 'catalyst: project' and 'catalyst: training' activities to LMICs, a direct impact will be capacity building in all areas of vaccinology in LMICs. This will include support of epidemiology, disease biology and clinical trials activity. An ethos of LMIC member involvement from the earliest stages of vaccine development will help ensure the voice of the vaccines end-users is heard and that they are involved in the vaccine development pathway from the outset.

High Income Country (HIC) impact
Although BactiVac is targeted at LMIC bacterial vaccine R&D, it is conceivable that the normal paradigm of vaccines being developed first for HIC and deployed years later in LMICs may be reversed, allowing HICs to become secondary beneficiaries of these vaccines. This is likely to be especially the case in relation to the travel vaccine market.

All network members
As well as helping LMICs through facilitating LMIC product development, BactiVac will have positive impact among all network members through connecting them to potential partners, disseminating key information, pump-priming pilot studies, supporting training and advocacy measures outlined above. As a successful network, BactiVac would help facilitate the growth of R&D capacity and know-how throughout the network, attract support from funders beyond the MRC, in addition to accelerating vaccines along the R&D pipeline.

Widening research in vaccinology
BactiVac will maintain an open membership stance and outward facing presence to scientists and others in allied fields who may not have considered previously applying their expertise to vaccinology. The impact of this will be to draw new members into the network, thereby increasing the critical mass of expertise available to drive vaccine R&D.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description BactiVac Pump Priming Training Awards - Round 1 - BVNCT-02 Kan Kaneko
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Training Visit to Instituto Butantan, Brazil (17.10.18 - 17.12.18) The opportunity for training in recombinant protein production and purification, at the Butantan Institute, has been immensely beneficial for awardees future research direction and potential collaborations in the future. - Contributed to your future career development Antigen production and purification will likely remain as an imperative process for vaccine production in the future. By being able to consider aspects of antigen production and formulation simultaneously, as opposed to separate processes, it opens up ideas for new formulations and optimisation of production. Being able to work on a project at the Butantan Institute enabled me to learn about the issues and difficulties associated with various stages of protein production and purification. The first-hand experience not only enables awardee to enter into the research areas of cell based protein production. - 'Added value' to on-going work you are undertaking The PdT protein, which was the focus of the training project, will be useful for the current project, as it can be incorporated into the vaccine as an additional target against pneumonia. The ultimate goal is to incorporate 2 pneumococcal antigens into a single formulation, in order to increase the coverage against different serotypes. - Has potential to create future collaboration arrangements Awardee had multiple opportunities to present my research on the formulation aspects of vaccine formulations, to the bacteriology and vaccinology groups, as well as to the wider audiences at the institute of Butantan and the University of Sao Paulo. As the Instituto Butantan research groups mainly work on the molecular aspects of vaccines, it was a good opportunity not only to show another aspect of vaccine formulations, but also to initiate discussions about how antigens could be better incorporated into formulations and potential collaborations. There was interest from the audience regarding aspects of this work, and awardee had opportunities to exchange contact details.
 
Description BactiVac Pump Priming Training Awards - Round 1 - BVNCT-04 Achut Barakoti
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Attendance at Vaccinology for Public Health and Clinical Practice in the 21st Century, Hong Kong (16/07/2018 - 20/07/2018) This training has: Contributed to future career development: this training has provided the awardee with the basic concept in vaccinology. Some of the lectures taken were recall of awardees knowledge but some were completely new. The tutorials sessions where delegates were taught about the use of software like RStudio, FigTree to analyse data was completely new to the awardee. Awardee found this software very helpful to create graphs, weaving written reports and analysis code in one documents, etc. 'Added value' to on-going work: the course provided the brief knowledge about the mechanism of immune response after vaccination which will be very helpful for awardee to teach undergraduate students. The use of software like RStudio will help the awardee in current research data analysis. Has potential to create future collaboration arrangements: in nutshell, the course provides the basis brief concept about the vaccinology. This course is suitable for an early career researchers like the awardee who have just started their career in the vaccinology field.
 
Description BactiVac Pump Priming Training Awards - Round 1 - BVNCT-09 Shizhong Geng
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Training visit to University of Birmingham, UK - Training in Molecular biology on bacterial vaccines (01/02/2019 - 01/05/2019) Impact will be reported after training has been completed and evaluation report submitted by the awardee.
 
Description BactiVac Pump Priming Training Awards - Round 1 -BVNCT-01 Birendra Prasad Gupta
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Training visit to International Vaccine Institute, Seoul, South Korea (26/10/2018 - 24/12/2018) Awardee has been working on clinical trials entitled "Multicenter, observer-blinded, randomized, active controlled, safety and immunogenicity phase III study of diphtheria toxoid conjugated Vi-polysaccharide Typhoid vaccine compared to Typbar TCV® in healthy Nepalese subjects". Has been trained on following: • Participated in regular project team meetings for the preparation of the Phase III (strategy and implementation steps) in healthy Nepalese subjects • Facilitated visits and communication with personnel for site assessment and feasibility study in Nepal • Participated in SOPs training at IVI • Contributed and coordinate for documents preparation of Vi-DT conjugate vaccine Phase III trial proposal and protocol to Nepal Regulatory Authorities (Nepal Health Research council and Department of Drug Administration) • Facilitated communication with personnel at Ministry of Health and Population, Government of Nepal • Contributed to the process of finalizing Phase III trial clinical trial sites • Contributed to the Phase III start up plan, in particular GCP Training for selected clinical trial sites in Nepal which includes data capture process, conduct of Informed Consent and Assent process, protocol training and inspection preparedness
 
Description Briefing document issued by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) which was externally reviewed by the BactiVac Director Prof Adam Cunningham
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
Impact Key points: - Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has reached a point where some infections may become untreatable. - Immunisation is one strategy to tackle AMR, by decreasing rates of infection and thereby antibiotic use and preventing the development of resistant infections. - The World Health Organization has developed a list of pathogens where AMR is of most concern and new antibiotics are needed; there is no equivalent for vaccines. - Quantifying the impact of immunisation on AMR and incorporating this into calculating the cost-effectiveness of vaccines is still an area of ongoing research. - Using immunisation to tackle AMR depends on wider use and increased uptake of existing vaccines, and increasing the development of new ones.
URL https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/POST-PN-0581
 
Description GCRF Networks Vaccinology Course 2018
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact The Network sponsored five scholarships to attend this course on 3 - 7 December 2018 (Bangkok, Thailand). - Dr Alice Halliday (United Kingdom) - Dr Elita Jauneikaite (United Kingdom - Mr Justin Tirimba Nyasinga (Kenya) - Mr Luis Alberto Ontiveros-Padilla (Mexico) - Mr Daniel Tapia (United States)
URL http://www.intvetvaccnet.co.uk/gcrf-networks-vaccinology-course-0
 
Description Travel Bursaries - BactiVac Inaugural Annual Network Meeting 2018
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact In 2018 BactiVac awarded 13 travel bursaries, providing funding of up to £1200 per award to support attendance at the Inaugural Annual Network Meeting by LMIC Network Members. The awards were made through a competitive process of application and Network Management peer review. 7 Members from Africa 5 Members from Asia 1 Member from South America
 
Description Global AMR Innovation Fund (GAMRIF)
Amount £1,000,000 (GBP)
Organisation Department of Health (DH) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2019 
End 03/2020
 
Description Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund
Amount £600,000 (GBP)
Funding ID MC_PC_1722 
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2018 
End 03/2021
 
Description BactiVac Network / DHSC GAMRIF partnership to address global AMR challenge 
Organisation Government of the UK
Department Department of Health and Social Care
PI Contribution DHSC benefits from the infrastructure, governance and related processes that are already in place to deliver successful catalyst pump-priming project calls. BactiVac has an ever-growing membership base and strong vaccinology community engagement, which is supported through a range of opportunities that are available to our members (in addition to catalyst funding for pump-priming projects), which include: • Attendance at our subsidised Annual Network Meetings bringing key experts and opinion makers together to discuss recent advances, and providing a forum for our members to effectively network • Access to travel bursaries to support attendance by LMIC members at our Annual Network Meetings • Access to catalyst funding to support training opportunities and exchanges, prioritising those involving LMIC members, for the transfer of knowledge and skills in bacterial vaccinology • Access to other training opportunities, such as attending our grant writing workshops or sponsored scholarships to attend the GCRF Networks Vaccinology Course • Receiving regular newsletters and Twitter updates to provide network members with further details about opportunities available through the Network. These activities are funded through the core MRC funding and are delivered by the existing BactiVac administrative team that has supported the establishment and growth of the Network. There are additional contributions to the partnership from the BactiVac Network being hosted at the University of Birmingham, including access to: • web hosting platforms and IT expertise to support BactiVac's externally facing website • marketing and multimedia expertise to raise the Network's profile through effective Network branding and the generation of promotional materials such as short videos for use via our various comms channels • professional services teams such as research finance, HR, contracts and legal. Further benefits exist from BactiVac having access to a broad range of engaged senior experts in the field of bacterial vaccinology through its governance structure. Board members are based in institutions from the academic, industry and policy sectors, many of whom have strong basic and clinical experience within AMR and the Network also benefits from strong LMIC representation. Our board members actively contribute their time to the management and strategic oversight of the Network, without remuneration, and in doing so add a huge amount of value, resource and expertise.
Collaborator Contribution The £1 million of funding awarded by DHSC will allow BactiVac to support a larger portfolio of catalyst projects of greater diversity and, potentially, complexity that address the strategic AMR-focused aims of DHSC and our own strategic remit. This enhances the potential to secure follow-on funding and deliver additional research outputs e.g. publications, which will be of benefit to the wider bacterial vaccinology community. Downstream applications that originate from BactiVac funding will receive a strategic uplift at UKRI grant panel boards. Any outputs delivered will acknowledge the source of funding and will be reported through BactiVac's website and social media channels as well as at our Annual Network Meetings.
Impact Approx £50k of the funding awarded was used to support salary costs for an additional Network Administrator to the BactiVac Admin team, 5% of the Network Operations Manager salary costs and a contribution towards network running costs. These resources will be used to support the additional admin burden associated with managing the DHSC admin stream. The remaining £950k has been allocated to support funding additional catalyst projects awarded through the Network. In Round 2 the following 8 projects (total of £477,572 awarded) were funded through the DHSC funding stream: 1) BVNCP2-01: "Towards the production of "Shigella plus" a low-cost recombinant Shigella glycoconjugate vaccines", PI Professor Brendan Wren 2) BVNCP2-02: "Optimisation of novel mucosal vaccines to prevent bacterial diseases of Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) ", PI Dr Rowena Hoare 3) 4) BVNCP2-04: "Development of a novel intranasal vaccine against pneumococcal infection in children", PI Dr Qibo Zhang 5) BVNCP2-06: "Developing whole cell vaccines with tailored immunogenicity through combinatorial engineering of lipid A", PI Dr Andrew Preston 6) 7) BVNCP2-09: "Molecular epidemiology of Group A Streptococcus in West Africa (acronym: MEGAS)", PI Dr Annette Erhart 8)
Start Year 2019
 
Title BactiVac Network Members' Directory 
Description Contains members' profiles in order to identify potential collaborators. Network members can access full details of other members (via login) and can search the Directory by: - Name - Institution - Country - Research expertise 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2019 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Members' Directory helps to encourage cross-collaboration between academic and industrial partners in developed and developing nations and to provide access to potential collaborators from multiple disciplines. 
URL https://bactivac.bham.ac.uk/
 
Description BactiVac First Annual Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact 110 members of the recently formed BactiVac Bacterial Vaccinology Network met for a two-day first annual meeting at the University of Birmingham. This included a mix of scientific and programmatic presentations, discussion group sessions, speed-dating and meeting dinner, all designed to establish the network and build interactions between the network's membership with the objective of advancing bacterial vaccines.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description BactiVac Network Advisory Board 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The BactiVac Network Advisory Board consists of experts in the field of vaccinology who have been brought together to offer overarching guidance on the direction and delivery of the Network objectives.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description BactiVac Network Management Oversight Board 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The BactiVac Network has brought together experts from various sectors to form its Management Oversight Board. This Board meets on a quarterly basis to discuss issues relating to the Network management and are involved in the peer review and issuing of pump priming awards and all funding requests made to the Network.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018,2019
 
Description BactiVac Network Membership 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact BactiVac Network has 671 members from across 63 countries. 40% of our members are based in LMICs and the proportion of our industrial membership is 12%.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018,2019
URL https://bactivac.bham.ac.uk/
 
Description BactiVac Network Twitter Account 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Number of followers have tripled since the launch of the Network in August 2017 and we currently have 991 followers on Twitter.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018,2019
URL https://twitter.com/BactiVac
 
Description BactiVac Network eNewsletter 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Open rate for the newsletters is presented below:

January 2018 - newsletter was sent to 239 Network members and open rate was 57.7%
May 2018 - newsletter was sent to 375 Network members and open rate was 40.5%;
September 2018 - newsletter was sent to 490 Network members and open rate was 41.8%;
December 2018 - newsletter was sent to 611 Network members and open rate was 37.6%.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/immunology-immunotherapy/research/bactivac/newsletter...
 
Description BactiVac Network website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Network website page views doubled in 2018 comparing to 2017
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018,2019
URL https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/immunology-immunotherapy/research/bactivac/index.aspx
 
Description BactiVac Operational Management Meetings 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact The Operational Management Group of the BactiVac Network meets on a monthly basis to discuss operational issues relating to the delivery of the Network projects and output.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
 
Description Events attended by the BactiVac Network Directors and Management Oversight Board Members 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact BactiVac has been represented at a number of high profile events, including:

- Hosting a visit from UK International Development Minister, Alistair Burt, at the University of Birmingham on 22 February 2018 who found out more about BactiVac and what the Network is aiming to achieve. Adam Cunningham, spoke to Alistair Burt during the visit about the importance of working in partnership with LMICs and across the academia/industry divide to accelerate the development of bacterial vaccines to prevent disease and save lives. Visit was reported through UoB/BactiVac twitter and short YouTube video created by Burt's media team currently has over 2,100 views (see https://twitter.com/DFID_UK/status/966749463380344832)

- Poster presentations at key conferences such as the BSI Congress, Microbiology Society Annual Meeting

- Network Management Oversight Board members/Network Directors invited to present on BactiVac to a total of over 2,000 people at key stakeholder meetings including WHO, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust, Vaccines for Enteric Diseases, NIBSC, The Academy of Medical Sciences, The Developing Countries Vaccine Manufactures Network (DCVMN), Houses of Parliament (Westminster) and other high profile academic and industrial organisations. After each of these presentations, our metrics demonstrate a spike in activity on our website and in membership applications.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
 
Description University of Birmingham Press Release 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Up to £1m funding awarded to develop bacterial vaccines in global fight against antimicrobial resistance

The Government has awarded the University of Birmingham-hosted BactiVac Network up to £1 million funding to accelerate the development of bacterial vaccines in a bid to prevent infections occurring as part of the global fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The award has been made by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)'s Global AMR Innovation Fund (GAMRIF) and comes after Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock this month announced the UK's 20-year vision and five-year (2019-2024) AMR national action plan.

Supported by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Networks in Vaccines Research & Development, which is co-funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), BactiVac will use this additional funding to accelerate the development and uptake of vaccines against bacterial infections in low and middle-income countries (LMICs).

BactiVac, which delivers a large portfolio of catalyst projects by bringing together academic and industry partners from the UK and other high-income countries and LMICs, targets bacterial diseases in both humans and animals that can lead to the emergence and spread of AMR and pose a significant threat to human health.

BactiVac is hosted at the University of Birmingham, which has one of the biggest teams of microbiologists in the European Union devoted to tackling AMR through pioneering research to better understand how bacteria cause infection, how antibiotics work, the causes of resistance, prevention of spread of resistant bacteria and finding new ways to treat infections.

University of Birmingham Professor Cal MacLennan, Director of BactiVac, said: "Infections account for over 20 per cent of global deaths and are particularly problematic in low and middle-income countries.

"Bacterial infections contribute significantly to this burden - killing approximately five million people annually.

"The crisis of AMR means our options for controlling bacterial infections are narrowing, and it is important that we address this urgent problem.

"By eliminating the selective pressure that antimicrobials apply on bacteria, vaccines can dramatically reduce the opportunity for AMR to develop, and therefore reduce antimicrobial use.

"This additional DHSC support will allow us to address gaps within our vaccine portfolio and develop new and better vaccines that directly address the issue of AMR."

University of Birmingham Professor Adam Cunningham, Co-Director of BactiVac, added: "Vaccines save millions of lives each year and are a cost-effective approach to prevent infectious diseases and their devastating sequelae.

"They can be of particular value in the fight against AMR because they prevent infections from occurring in the first place. This means that disease does not develop, or develops to a lesser degree, than would do otherwise.

"In addition, vaccines can protect against disease where AMR is widespread, such as typhoid fever, and so prevent disease from bacteria that are already resistant to treatment.

"Nevertheless, there are many bacterial infections in both humans and animals for which we lack any licensed vaccine. Conversely, if a vaccine exists, many do not work optimally, such as in the very young or old, or those with significant co-morbidities.

"Addressing the need for accelerating vaccines against low to middle-income countries-relevant bacterial infections by, for example developing novel approaches, enhancing their efficacy and uptake, is an important way to help reduce the burden of AMR.

"This award will help us support vaccine development against infections caused by bacteria where AMR is already established and is developing."

Professor Dame Sally Davies, England's Chief Medical Officer, said: "Increasing investment in vaccines research and development for humans and animals is a core part of the UK Government's 20-year vision and five-year national action plan for AMR announced last week.

"This additional funding to BactiVac complements existing work led by the UK, particularly focusing on infections and AMR in low and middle income countries, where the burden is greatest."

Dr Martin Broadstock, Programme Manager for Immunology at MRC, said: "Our goal through the MRC/BBSRC networks is to accelerate vaccine research and development, and the additional DHSC investment will help achieve this by funding collaborative projects that will aim to develop new and better vaccines against bacterial pathogens."

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) is the UK government department, which is responsible for helping people to live more independent, healthier lives for longer.

The partnership with BactiVac is part of DHSC's Global Antimicrobial Innovation Fund (GAMRIF). GAMRIF was established to provide seed funding for innovative research and development, specifically in neglected and underinvested areas, to address the threat of AMR.

GAMRIF is a £50m UK aid investment, which means all projects funded must support research primarily and directly for the benefit of people in LMICs.

The Fund takes a 'One Health' approach, seeking to invest in potential solutions to reduce the threat of AMR in humans, animals, fish and the environment.

The Fund seeks to leverage additional global funding through interaction with international government bodies, public-private partnerships, product development partnerships, global funding mechanisms and global fora.

Ends
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/news/latest/2019/01/bacterial-vaccine-infection-antimicrobial-resistanc...