Individual Projects

German Research Activities combating the current Ebola virus outbreak in West-Africa (EBOKON)

Reference number: 01KA1403
Funding amount: 2.315.500 EUR
Funding Period: 2014 - 2015
Project leader: Professor Dr. Dirk Heinz
Address: Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH
Inhoffenstr. 7
38124 Braunschweig

In response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, DZIF assembled a consortium to drive Ebola research in Germany in a concerted manner. The following measures are planned: Rapid diagnostic testing for Ebola virus detection, further development of inhibitors of Ebola virus, development of vaccines for active and passive immunization against Ebola virus, functional analyses of genomic virus mutations, analysis of the immune response against Ebola virus in West African patients, improvement of contact person surveillance, modeling the spread of Ebola virus, virus ecology in reservoir species and domestic animals in Africa.

These measures address the current outbreak but will also be effective in preparing the Federal Government for future outbreaks of Ebola. 1) Preclinical development and characterization of new vaccines that are based on recombinant Vaccinia viruses 2) Development and validation of PAN-Ebola vaccination strategies 3) Analysis and inhibition of virus entry into host cells 4) Development of recombinant Ebola viruses as a mean to study a) the pathogenetic relevance of Ebola virus mutations and b) the efficacy of vaccines and antibody therapies under BSL-4 conditions 5) Analysis of immunity against and pathogenesis of Ebola virus in a mouse model 6) Characterization of early immune responses of a vaccine candidate 7) Analysis of a clinical study with a VSV-based Ebola vaccine in Gabun 8) Investigation of the Filovirus transmission chain in Ghana 9a) Risk assessment for Ebola infections by secondary infections of domestic and wild animals b) Software development to determine the import risk for Ebola at all air traffic hubs c) Development, application and evaluation of a follow-up tool for staff of health care facilities and travelers from affected areas 10) Surveillance of Ebola by real-time mobile data transfer in Nigeria.

This project is part of the EDCTP2 programme supported by the European Union.