KU Leuven leads research for cheap and accessible vaccine against rabies and yellow fever


RABYD-VAX, an international consortium of research institutes led by KU Leuven, is aiming to develop a cheap, efficient, temperature-stable and easy-to-produce vaccine against both rabies and yellow fever by 2020.

The current vaccines is sensitive to higher temperatures which makes for a difficult distribution. Another serious drawback is the use of needles for these vaccinations. KU Leuven developed an innovative technology called PLLAV which allows these vaccines to be included in routine childhood vaccinations without a needle. 

Rabies and yellow fever cause about 90 000 deaths each year worldwide. "Most patients live in rural areas in Africa and Asia. Half of them are children", Johan Neyts, cooridnator of the RABYD-VACX consortium, said. "Vaccines for rabies are expensive and need to be cooled. When it comes to yellow fever, areas in Africa run the risk of uncontrollable outbreaks."

The RABYD-VAX consortium has received a €4.1 million grant from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme for the development of the vaccine.