Monday March 22nd 2021



ViroVet NV, a leading Belgian biopharmaceutical company active in the development of innovative vaccines and antiviral drugs for livestock, is proud to announce that it has successfully constructed a vaccine against Japanese encephalitis (JE) for further development. The vaccine is based on the PLLAV or plasmid-launched live attenuated virus vaccine technology. ViroVet pioneers the development of vaccines based on this unique and proprietary technology platform originating from the Rega Institute for Medical Research of the Leuven University (KU Leuven). With this technology platform, vaccines can be designed and produced faster and more cost-effectively. PLLAV vaccines are tailor-made and thermostable thereby removing any cold-chain requirement.

ViroVet has confirmed that PLLAV vaccine doses in the microgram range of naked DNA successfully induced a specific antibody response to the JE virus.

Nesya Goris, CDO of ViroVet adds that “In addition, interferongamma responses were also shown which clearly highlights once again the ability of PLLAV vaccines to activate humoral as well as cell-mediated immunity. A single vaccine shot was found to be effective in attaining a balanced immune response.”

Erwin Blomsma, CEO of ViroVet states “We are delighted today to once more present strong proof-of-concept data on the vaccine side of our business, and potentially also kick off the development of a new vaccine for humans.”

Professor Johan Neyts, Rega Institute KU Leuven: “ViroVet once again demonstrates the potential of our PLLAV technology. Our partnership with the biotech company now provides a possible design for a vaccine against Japanese encephalitis for humans. This will only strengthen our partnership with ViroVet.”

JE is an important disease for both public and animal health. Japanese encephalitis (JE) is one of the vectorborne diseases caused by infection with Japanese encephalitis virus, through the Culex tritaeniorrhynchus mosquito bites. Pigs act as important amplifiers of the virus producing high viraemias. JE is an important cause of encephalitis in most of Asia, with high case fatality rates and often significant neurologic sequelae among survivors.

There is a significant market for an improved vaccine against JE that does not require cooling. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends integrating JE vaccinations into national immunization programs and prioritizing endemic areas. Some countries have developed JE vaccination programs; these are Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. The virus is related to dengue fever, yellow fever and West Nile virus.