The 4th ShigaPlexIM annual meeting was held on 24 January 2024 at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), Leiden, Netherlands.
Partners from the Netherlands (LUMC), Burkina Faso (Groupe de Recherche Action en Santé - GRAS), Zambia (Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia - CIDRZ), Germany (European Vaccine Initiative - EVI), Sweden (University of Gothenburg - UGOT) and Switzerland (Foundation for Appropriate Technologies in Health - FATH), joined in person or virtually in a hybrid meeting to discuss the project achievements and the strategy for the upcoming activities. In preparation of the phase Ia/b clinical trial at LUMC and CIDRZ, the team is currently working on the regulatory submissions to the competent authorities, the development of the planned immunoassays and the shipment of the vaccine’s antigen and adjuvant to the trial sites.
After the completion of two sero-epidemiology studies conducted at CIDRZ and GRAS, data analyses are being completed for publication of the results on the Shigella burden in children under 5.
Dr Debora Bade, the EDCTP project Officer and Prof. Ellis Owusu-Dabo, a member of the project Scientific and Ethics Advisory Committee, joined the meeting to support and advise the consortium towards its commitment to develop a new vaccine to protect against Shigella infection.
As part of the capacity-building efforts, a representative of the Zambia Regulatory Authority and a member of the CIDRZ Ethics Committee joined the trip to LUMC to learn about the preparation and conduct of Challenge Human Infection Models (CHIM) studies. LUMC has indeed extensive experience in CHIM studies for the evaluation of novel investigational vaccines and therapeutics.
The team was thrilled by the visit of the LUMC insectarium where mosquitos are bred and maintained for transmission of the Plasmodium falciparum parasite in malaria CHIM studies. Later on, collaborators from the nearby Center for Human Drug Research (CHDR), also involved in the EVI-coordinated Inno4Vac project, shared their expertise in setting up and conducting CHIM studies for different indications. A tour of the LUMC GMP facilities where the challenge agents are manufactured closed the CHIM training session.
Finally, the ShigaPlexIM partners had the opportunity to attend the Boerhaave Symposium (https://leidenbiosciencepark.nl/events/boerhaave-symposium) where the latest advances in the development of prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines were presented by renowned experts.
This project is part of the EDCTP2 Programme supported by the European Union (RIA2018V-2308)