September 2, 2019 (for immediate release)
Vaccine research at the National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) of Taiwan has led to an award from the Ministry of Science and Technology for Outstanding Technology Transfer. This helps reconfirm NHRI’s essential role in Taiwan’s biomedicine sector. The technology for a novel vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) developed by a team led by Dr. Yen-Hung Chow of NHRI’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology was transferred to BioChina, Inc., in 2017.
Human respiratory syncytial virus is a leading cause of lower respiratory infections in children and in the elderly. Each year, around 3 percent of all infants aged less than 12 months are admitted to a hospital with moderate or severe viral lower respiratory tract infection. The global RSV disease burden is estimated at 64 million cases and 160,000 deaths every year.
A team led by Dr. Yen-Hung Chow of NHRI’s Institute of Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology began researching the prevention of RSV infection in 2009. Obstacles such as vaccine-enhanced disease and RSV-induced lung disease were overcome by mucosal immunization of Ad-RSV vaccine, a replication-defective adenoviral vector that delivers the RSV fusion protein gene. In a mice and cotton rat study, Ad-RSV vaccine could induce mucosal-specific IgA and neutralizing IgG antibodies and induce Th1-mediated cellular immunity, fully protecting the animals from RSV challenge. NHRI began cooperating with BioChina, Inc., on an Ad-RSV vaccine via cGMP manufacture in 2014. The close working relationship on this project might continue through the clinical trial stage.
This and other biomedical technology transfers highlight NHRI’s role in the government’s health-promotion policies via the leadership of the Ministry of Health and Welfare.