St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Serum Institute of India have signed a licensing agreement to complete development and commercialization of a St. Jude vaccine against the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a virus that causes serious lower respiratory infections. Infants are at particularly high risk for the infection and there are currently no approved vaccines.
The agreement gives Serum Institute of India the right to design and conduct clinical trials of the patented St. Jude vaccine, known as SeVRSV.
"RSV remains a serious threat to infants worldwide during their first year of life and to anyone, including pediatric cancer patients, whose immune response has been weakened by illness or age," said James R. Downing, M.D., St. Jude president and chief executive officer. "We are pleased that Serum's staff and leadership have recognized the life-saving potential of this vaccine. We look forward to working closely with them to make this vaccine accessible around the globe."
RSV is the most common cause of lower respiratory infections in infants. Researchers have estimated that worldwide, in a single year, as many as 34 million children younger than 5 years old may experience an acute lower respiratory infection caused by RSV. An estimated 10 percent of these children may require hospitalization.
The St. Jude vaccine uses a mouse parainfluenza virus type 1 that is modified to carry an RSV gene and prime the human immune response. To the immune system, the mouse parainfluenza virus type 1 looks similar to the human parainfluenza virus type 1, which is the most common cause of croup in children. St. Jude researchers capitalized on this similarity in the SeVRSV vaccine to ready the human immune response and protect against serious illness from both RSV and croup.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that the SeVRSV vaccine is one of dozens of candidate RSV vaccines in development worldwide. In preclinical tests, SeVRSV proved safe and effective. SeVRSV is designed to be administered to infants via nasal droplets.
Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd. is the world's largest vaccine manufacturer by number of doses produced and sold globally, more than 1.3 billion doses. They supply diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Hib, BCG, r-Hepatitis B, polio, measles, mumps and rubella vaccines. An estimated 65 percent of the world’s children receive at least one vaccine manufactured by the company. Vaccines manufactured by Serum Institute of India are accredited by WHO and are used in the national immunization programs of about 140 countries across the globe, saving millions of lives throughout the world.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. To learn more, visit stjude.org or follow the hospital on Twitter and Instagram at @stjuderesearch.