Chlamydia trachomatis is the world's leading infectious cause of blindness. WHO estimates globally 146 million active cases of the disease, mainly among children and women. Current control measures are based on "SAFE" strategy, Surgery for trichiasis, Antibiotics, Facial cleanliness and Environmental improvement. WHO supports the alliance for the global elimination of blinding trachoma. This goal will be impossible to reach with the current technology and there is critical need for a vaccine to completely control trachoma in endemic areas and to ensure that trachoma will be fully eliminated as a public health problem.
The TracVac project
The Trachoma Vaccine (TracVac) consortium is multi-disciplinary and consists of European experts in the field of Infectious Diseases, Clinical Trial, Vaccine R&D and Animal Models (see partner description link). The goal of the project is to eliminate the global problem of blinding trachoma through the development of a safe and efficacious vaccine.
Two track project strategy:
Track 1: Develop a protective vaccine against ocular Chlamydia trachomatis infections
The objective is to generate a vaccine that protect against the bacterial strains causing ocular Chlamydia trachomatis infections. To accomplish this we study naturally protected individuals from endemic regions and identify key epitopes, which will subsequently be incorporated into vaccine constructs and tested for protective efficacy.
Track 2: Develop and clinical evaluate an immunization protocol for optimal ocular mucosal immunity
The second main objective is to develop an immunization protocol for optimal ocular mucosal immunity. To do this we will establish an ocular non-human primate (NHP) challenge model, test different vaccination strategies for ocular responses and protection against challenge. We will subsequently test the best strategy in a clinical phase I evaluation.