In the framework of the DEFEND-CoV2 project, an infrastructure for testing and evaluating vaccines and active agents against SARS-CoV-2 is to be created with the aim of giving, in particular, smaller companies, academic institutions without S3 resources and Fraunhofer Institutes the possibility to quickly test their candidates and to validate these in comparison with other technologies. At the same time, Fraunhofer’s own efforts to develop vaccines and active agents are being promoted. In this process, the focus is on proprietary vaccine candidates consisting of inactivated pathogens, nucleic acids and vector vaccines. In this context, (intranasal) application through the airways is considered as an important method since a local and, therefore, potent effectiveness can be established at the virus’s point of entry.
In order to be ready for the current as well as for future virus pandemics, the Immunology, Cell Therapy and GMP Process Development departments of the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI are working to build a vaccine and active agent pipeline in the DEFEND-CoV2 project. This should also facilitate fast production for preclinical testing and the further clinical development under GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice). As a result, developers can be offered the entire value chain from preclinical testing to the production of the first clinical test specimen. This is particularly important for fast tracking as demanded by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for pandemics.