Maria Yazdanbakhsh, Professor of Parasitology at the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC), has been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant of 2.5 million euros. She will investigate why people in Africa and Southeast Asia respond less to certain vaccines than Europeans. Her goal is to find a solution for low vaccine responses.
“New malaria vaccine studies in Europe and the United States show protection of almost 100% amongst participants. However, if we repeat this study in Africa – where the vaccine is most needed – we only see protection in 30% of the participants,” says Maria Yazdanbakhsh , Spinoza Laureate 2021 and head of the Department of Parasitology. This phenomenon is known as hypo-responsiveness and occurs with several vaccines, such as those against Ebola, Rotavirus and Yellow Fever.
The African-European Tuberculosis Consortium (AE-TBC) is an international multisite group of African and European researchers who investigate the use of host biosignatures for the diagnosis of active TB disease. For over ten years, the LUMC groups of Infectious Diseases and Cell & Chemical Biology from Prof Annemieke Geluk and Dr Paul Corstjens respectively, have been partners of the EDCTP consortia for tuberculosis (among which AE-TBC). The AE-TBC recently won the prize for ‘Outstanding Research Team 2020, awarded by the EDCTP.
The Janssen-Cilag International N.V COVID-19 vaccine has received authorization for emergency use by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on March 11. Developed with fundamental support from the Molecular Virology group of the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC), it is the fourth vaccine to be administered in the European Union. The Netherlands has ordered more than 11 million vaccine doses.
“This is an achievement in alignment with the mission of VODAN-Africa to generate continuous, real-time, high velocity clinical observational patient data from resource-limited communities that have not been well represented in digital health data. The key feature is that the data produced remains in the health facility only. It will not leave the health facility. Since the data is machine-actionable the input of the data only happens once; in the deployable architecture, the data is used for four parallel use cases” (VODAN to Africa, 2022).