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Fall 2022 - Innovation

NIAID Launches Study of Vaccine to Prevent EBV

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has launched an early-stage clinical trial to evaluate an investigational preventive vaccine for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), the primary cause of infectious mononucleosis associated with certain cancers and autoimmune diseases. The Phase I study, which will be conducted at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md., is one of only two studies to test an investigational EBV vaccine in more than a decade.

Led by principal investigator Jessica Durkee-Shock, MD, of NIAID’s Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, the study will evaluate the safety and immune response of an investigational EBV gp350-Ferritin nanoparticle vaccine with a saponin-based Matrix-M adjuvant. The experimental vaccine was developed by the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases in collaboration with NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center. The Matrix-M adjuvant was developed by the biotechnology company Novavax, based in Gaithersburg, Md.

The vaccine works by targeting EBV glycoprotein gp350, which is found on the surface of the virus and virus-infected cells. EBV gp350 is also the primary target for neutralizing antibodies found in the blood of people naturally infected with EBV. Ferritin, a natural iron storage protein found in cells of all living species, is considered a promising vaccine platform because it can display proteins from the targeted virus in a dense array on its surface. The adjuvant is intended to enhance the immune response induced by the investigational vaccine.

The study will enroll 40 healthy volunteer adults ages 18 years to 29 years, half of whom have evidence of prior EBV infection and half of whom do not have evidence of prior EBV infection. Participants will be given a series of three 50-microgram injections of the experimental vaccine in the upper arm muscle, followed by 30 minutes to 60 minutes of observation after each dose. The second and third doses will be administered 30 days and 180 days after the initial dose, with follow-up visits between each vaccination and phone calls between visits. Participation is expected to be required for 18 months to 30 months, and the trial is expected to last four years. More information about the study is available on using the identifier NCT04645147.


NIH Launches Clinical Study to Evaluate an Investigational Preventative Vaccine for Epstein-Barr Virus. News Medical Life Sciences, May 6, 2022. Accessed at

BSTQ Staff
BioSupply Trends Quarterly [BSTQ] is the definitive source for industry trends, news and information for the biopharmaceuticals marketplace. With timely and critical information, each themed issue covers topics ranging from product breakthroughs, industry insights and innovations, up-to-the-minute news on the latest clinical trials, accessibility, and service and safety concerns.