Approximately 600-700 million people are infected by hookworm, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. Hookworm infection ranks number one in terms of Years Lost from Disability from a neglected infectious disease, and among the top 3 in terms of lost Disability-Adjusted Life Years.
HOOKVAC will be developing the first and only vaccine for human hookworm infection. A bivalent, low-cost vaccine candidate will be clinically tested for the first time in an African disease endemic population. This will be done in Gabon in a very typical setting within the Central African rainforest belt, where the incidence of hookworm infections is 30%. Inspired by preparatory research, HOOKVAC believes that it can develop the vaccine with at least 80% efficacy against moderate and heavy hookworm infections that lasts at five years after immunization. Cost effectiveness modelling has shown that such a vaccine will significantly improve the efficacy of the current mass drug administration programs. HOOKVAC will play a crucial role in advancing toward large scale efficacy studies in African endemic areas.
(1) establish safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine candidate in an endemic population
(2) improve the manufacturing process
(3) provide clinical proof of concept
(4) improve accessibility of the vaccine in endemic areas.
Working with Small and Medium Enterprises:
The unique involvement of European SMEs in the project is a critical component to advancing a successful vaccine, and an integral part of adding private sector know-how and scientific expertise to the project. This will inspire other European SMEs to become more involved in public/private vaccine product development for neglected infectious diseases. By doing so, HOOKVAC will fuel a follow-up programme for further development of the vaccine towards a licensed product.