Yellow Fever (YF) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus disease characterised by the impairment of liver function, leading to severe illness and death. The YF vaccine used to prevent the disease is based upon a live but inactivated form of the YF virus (attenuated vaccine). The safety of new seed lots of the YF vaccine is currently assessed in non-human primates (cynomologus macaques). Animals are innoculated with a test dose of the vaccine and clinical observations, blood sampling and post-mortem histology are performed to examine whether the animals develop any signs of YF.
Sponsored by Sanofi Pasteur, this Challenge aims to develop a functional liver model that can recapitulate as much as possible the complexity of the organ for the routine assessment of YF vaccine attenuation and replace the use of macaques in the safety testing of these products.
Phase 2 funding has been awarded to the Newcastle-based SME Newcells Biotech, led by Professor Lyle Armstrong. The team is developing an in vitro model of the liver sinusoid composed of hepatocytes, endothelial cells and immune cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells.
Full information about the Challenge can be found on the Innovation Platform website.