June 3, 2020

Watch IAVI Experts Discuss Accelerating COVID-19 Vaccine Development with Merck

Mark Feinberg and Swati Gupta introduce viewers to the COVID-19 vaccine candidate, which uses the same technology as Merck’s Ebola vaccine.

Update, 1/25/21: IAVI and Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, announced they are discontinuing development of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate V590. This decision follows review of findings from a Phase I clinical study. In this study, intramuscular administration of V590 was generally well tolerated, but the immune response was inferior to those seen following natural infection and to those reported for other SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. IAVI and Merck will work together to continue research into vaccine candidates to prevent COVID-19. Read the press release for full details.

IAVI on May 26 announced a new partnership with Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, to develop an investigational vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 to be used for the prevention of COVID-19. Scientists at the IAVI Design and Development Laboratory in Brooklyn are engineering the vaccine construct, known as rVSV, which uses a harmless virus to deliver the “spike” protein on the surface of SARS-CoV-2 and prompt an immune response. rVSV is the same viral backbone used in Merck’s Ebola vaccine, Ervebo®, which was approved in December 2019.

The COVID-19 vaccine program is part of IAVI’s long-standing effort to develop rVSV vaccines for HIV as well as other emerging infectious diseases such as Lassa fever, Marburg, and Ebola Sudan disease, under the leadership of Swati Gupta, Ph.D., head of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Scientific Strategy at IAVI.

Both Dr. Gupta and Mark Feinberg, M.D., Ph.D., IAVI president and CEO, have appeared on U.S.-based news programs recently to share more about the partnership, vaccine candidate, and using a previously approved technology to help accelerate pandemic vaccine development.

Watch Dr. Feinberg’s May 27 appearance on Healthy Returns with CNBC’s Meg Tirrell.

Watch Dr. Gupta’s May 27 interview with Cheddar.com.