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NOSEVAC combines synergetic and complementary expertise in vaccine Research and Development (R&D) of nine renowned academic and public health institutions, three biotech companies and one non-profit organisation, from assay development, antigen discovery, formulation over preclinical R&D with mathematical modelling, and up to human immune response clinical trials as well as social sciences and humanities (SSH) for vaccine acceptability.

Jointly, our lean and efficient consortium possesses all the necessary skills and expertise to successfully achieve the NOSEVAC objectives.


Respiratory tract infections represent the third major cause of mortality worldwide. Children under 5 years old and adults >65 years old are particularly at risk to develop severe diseases and death. In addition, respiratory infections represent a large social and economic burden in the working adult population as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic. A common feature to respiratory bacteria and viruses is that they are primarily transmitted by airborne droplets and aerosols.  

Intranasal vaccine graphic from IAVI Report

Most vaccines (against respiratory pathogens):

  • are administered by intramuscular or subcutaneous injection and induce systemic antibody- and/or cell-mediated-immunity that prevent or reduce disease symptoms.

  • have no or limited ability to elicit mucosal immunity, however data on human immune responses to most of vaccines at the mucosa, the site of respiratory infections are lacking.

  • protect against the disease but provide little or no protection against early infection or transmission.

The limited ability of vaccines to stop the spread of pathogens has major consequences for public health:

  1. Progression of pandemics is not controlled, leaving vulnerable populations at risk of severe morbidity and death,

  2. Continued circulation of pathogens among individuals is likely to result in evolution of strains that escape vaccine-induced immunity, and

  3. Increase in vaccine hesitancy and reduced vaccination coverage as seen with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Developing vaccines capable of preventing not only diseases but infection and transmission is critical to stop pandemics and reduce global burden of disease.

Additionally, reducing pathogen circulation with vaccines would make a major contribution to the global effort to fight emergence and spread of antibiotic/antimicrobial resistance.


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Development of innovative platforms for nasal vaccines to prevent or reduce nasal colonisation and infection by respiratory pathogens.

Following specific objectives have been defined to achieve this goal:

  1. Discovery of antigens of S. pneumoniae and B. pertussis required for nasal colonisation; use in new vaccine formulations.

  2. Development of innovative formulations for nasal bivalent vaccines using messenger RNA (mRNA), self-amplifying RNA (saRNA), or protein antigens to target CAP and whooping cough, or influenza and COVID-19, respectively; set up sustainable, innovative and affordable manufacturing technologies.

  3. Characterisation of bivalent vaccines’ interactions with human nasal epithelium and immune cells

  4. Evaluation of the immunogenicity, mode of action and protective efficacy of selected bivalent bacterial and viral nasal vaccines in animal models of respiratory infection, colonisation, and transmission

  5. Increase in knowledge of the human protective immunity and associated immune biomarkers in the nose in response to pneumococcus colonisation/infection and to intranasal influenza vaccine/infection

  6. Definition of stakeholder acceptance of nasal vaccination for future development. Acceptability of nasal vaccine constitutes an integral part of NOSEVAC project. Better understanding of social (e.g., level of education; country's health policy) and psychological predictors of vaccination (e.g., motivations, beliefs) may improve interventions and prevention programs. On the long run, it may increase uptake of nasal vaccines by adapting these programs in terms of motivations, biases, risk perception or even gender. At the clinical level, investigating the SSH aspects will help inform the design of clinical trials.

  7. Successful project management, and communication, dissemination, and exploitation of results

  8. Development of mathematical and quantitative modelling platforms for nasal vaccine research to help enhance our understanding on approaches for prevention and reduction of nasal colonisation of respiratory pathogens.

Knowledge of pathogen factors required for nasal colonisation and on host immunity in the nasal compartment are the building blocks on which the NOSEVAC consortium will develop innovative nasal bivalent vaccines (messenger RNA - mRNA, self-amplifying RNA - saRNA, or protein antigens) to prevent colonisation, infection and transmission by Bordatella sp. and S. pneumoniae.

Additionally, the NOSEVAC consortium will develop novel bivalent nasal vaccines based on mRNA and saRNA technologies with the aim to effectively immunise populations at risk against influenza viruses and SARS-COV2 infection and transmission.

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