Team, Visitors, External Collaborators
Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
Highlights of the Year
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: Application Domains

Translational vaccinology

Vaccines are one of the most efficient tools to prevent and control infectious diseases, and there is a need to increase the number of safe and efficacious vaccines against various pathogens. However, clinical development of vaccines - and of any other investigational product - is a lengthy and costly process. Considering the public health benefits of vaccines, their development needs to be supported and accelerated. During early phase clinical vaccine development (phase I, II trials, translational trials), the number of possible candidate vaccine strategies against a given pathogen that needs to be down-selected in early clinical development is potentially very large. Moreover, during early clinical development there are most often no validated surrogate endpoints to predict the clinical efficacy of a vaccine strategy based on immunogenicity results that could be used as a consensus immunogenicity endpoint and down-selection criterion. This implies considerable uncertainty about the interpretation of immunogenicity results and about the potential value of a vaccine strategy as it transits through early clinical development. Given the complexity of the immune system and the many unknowns in the generation of a protective immune response, early vaccine clinical development nowadays thus takes advantage of high throughput (or “omics”) methods allowing to simultaneously assess a large number of response markers at different levels (“multi-omics”) of the immune system. This has induced a paradigm shift towards early-stage and translational vaccine clinical trials including fewer participants but with thousands of data points collected on every single individual. This is expected to contribute to acceleration of vaccine development thanks to a broader search for immunogenicity signals and a better understanding of the mechanisms induced by each vaccine strategy. However, this remains a difficult research field, both from the immunological as well as from the statistical perspective. Extracting meaningful information from these multi-omics data and transferring it towards an acceleration of vaccine development requires adequate statistical methods, state-of-the art immunological technologies and expertise, and thoughtful interpretation of the results. It thus constitutes research at the interface between disciplines: data science, immunology and vaccinology. Our main current areas of application here are early phase trials of HIV and Ebola vaccine strategies, in which we participate from the initial trial design to the final data analyses.