BioNTech doses first patient in herpes vaccine candidate clinical trial

Syringes are seen in front of a displayed Biontech logo in this illustration taken November 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Dec 21 (Reuters) - BioNtech (22UAy.DE) has dosed the first patient with its BNT163 herpes vaccine candidate designed to prevent genital lesions as part of a first-in-human Phase 1 clinical research study, the German vaccine maker said on Wednesday.

The vaccine candidate is meant to prevent HSV-2, the herpes simplex virus that causes genital herpes, and potentially HSV-1, which causes oral herpes and can lead to genital herpes.

It is the first result of the research collaboration established in 2018 between the University of Pennsylvania and BioNtech aimed at developing novel mRNA vaccine candidates for the prevention and treatment of various infectious diseases.

The World Health Organization estimates the number of people aged 15-49 suffering from HSV-2 infection at around 491 million.

BioNTech expects to enrol 100 people between ages 18 and 55 for its Phase 1 trial of the drug, the firm added.

The Mainz-based firm said in a separate news release that it is advancing two mRNA vaccine candidates for malaria and tuberculosis, which it expects to enter first-in-human trials in late 2022 or early 2023.

Reporting by Tristan Chabba in Gdansk Editing by Miranda Murray

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