VECTORIE provides for a multidisciplinary approach combining the expertise of (basic) virology, entomology and advanced vaccinology to monitor the spread of and diagnose, prevent and treat infections caused by West Nile virus (WNV) and Chikungunya virus (CHIKV). VECTORIE therefore addresses Europe’s need to prepare for these vector-borne diseases along three strands:
Vector biology: WNV and CHIKV are emerging mosquito-borne viral diseases. Generating novel knowledge on avian and mammalian host susceptibility and vector competence of the two main vectors of WNV and CHIKV, will lead to important insights necessary for determining the type of surveillance system appropriate for European countries to detect and predict emerging WNV and/or CHIKV outbreaks.
Virulence & pathogenesis: VECTORIE addresses the need for understanding how CHIKV and the four WNV lineages circulating in Europe differ in their capacity to cause neuroinvasive disease. These studies will improve Europe’s ability to monitor the spread of these infections and will lead to diagnostic and prognostic tools as well as novel intervention strategies.
Vaccination strategies: The severity of WNV and CHIKV neuroinvasive disease, the long term sequelae reported from infected individuals and the negative impact of these infections on the blood transfusion system collectively justify the development of safe and effective vaccines against these infections. VECTORIE brings together a platform of technologies using either virus-like particles or Modified vaccinia Ankara vaccine candidates, for the development of novel mono- and bivalent vaccine candidates against WNV and CHIKV.
VECTORIE’s integrated approach will largely contribute to adequate risk assessment and risk mitigation of the emerging health threat caused by WNV and CHIKV infections in Europe.