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​Poxvirus Vaccine Vectors

The classical Smallpox vaccine (Vaccinia virus) can be used as a vaccine vehicle against other diseases. Our goal is to improve those recombinant vaccines by carrying out genetic analysis of the virus and by improving methods to introduce genes into the vaccinia genome. We are applying this strategy to obtain recombinant vaccines against Covid-19 and other diseases. 

Grupo de investigación dependiente del

Biotechnology

Vaccinia virus was the first vaccine ever used, resulting after more than 200 years in the eradication of Smallpox, one of the most fatal diseases in history. The development of manipulation techniques for the virus genome has made it possible to contemplate new uses for this old vaccine. Among these, its use as a vehicle for the expression of genes from human or animal pathogens, to generate recombinant vaccines that combine the excellent characteristics of the vaccine vector with the expression of exogenous genes. In addition to its use as a vaccine, there are great expectations regarding the use of recombinant Vaccinia viruses as a biotechnological tool for protein expression or even in the treatment of tumors as an oncolytic agent. ​

In the field of vaccines, and due to current vaccine standards, it is necessary to increase the safety and immunogenicity of the new candidates with respect to those of the classic vaccine strains that were used against smallpox. One of the improved vectors is the Vaccinia strain called MVA, which was obtained by blind passages, but there are also other alternatives derived from a greater understanding of the functions of viral genes, which could allow obtaining vaccine vectors with optimized characteristics. 

Investigación

Our approach is directed to deepen the knowledge of the biology of the Vaccinia virus and its relationship with the host cell, and to advance in the technology of generation of recombinant viruses from Vaccinia virus or other similar viruses. To do this we carry out the following approaches: ​

1.- CRISPR-based genetic screens to identify and study cellular factors involved in Vaccinia infection of the host cell.

2.- Genetic screening systems for viral genes and their possible role in the replicative cycle

 3.- Development of Vaccinia virus modification systems, with optimized selection methods for virus isolation and to improve vector safety.

4.- Generation of recombinant vaccines directed at different diseases, including Covid-19.

Miembros

Coordinador de Grupo

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