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Identification and development of vaccine candidates for Buruli Ulcer Disease (BuruliVac)
Start date: Mar 1, 2010, End date: May 31, 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Buruli ulcer disease (BUD), caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans, is a neglected bacterial infection of the poor in remote rural areas, mostly affecting children. BUD, the third most common mycobacterial disease in immunocompetent humans after tuberculosis and leprosy, is most endemic in West Africa, but cases have been reported from more than 30 countries. BUD is a mutilating disease leading to severe disability. Treatment with antibiotics is possible but is long-lasting and requires injections, shows treatment failures and drug resistance may occur. A vaccine against M. ulcerans would protect persons at risk in highly endemic areas and could be used as a therapeutic vaccine to shorten duration of treatment and to prevent relapses. The general objective of BuruliVac is to identify and develop novel vaccine candidates suitable for translation into clinical application. This objective will be achieved by a multidisciplinary approach involving among others basic and applied research in immunology, bioinformatics, molecular genetics, tropical medicine, microbiology and clinical bacteriology. As currently no existing vaccine lead candidate is available, the consortium will identify and develop new vaccine candidates of different types, will evaluate them using bioinformatics, applied genomics and proteomics and will subject them to consecutive test systems. For evaluation of vaccine candidates regarding their application in humans, the consortium will also study the immune response and disease immunopathology to define correlates of protection. Essential pre-clinical testing in vitro and in vivo will select a small number of candidates that is amenable to be introduced into clinical studies.
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