The Laboratory of Molecular Parasitology of the Margarita Salas Center for Biological Research (CIB-CSIC) led by Professor Vicente Larraga, has been awarded in the III Edition of the International Zendal Awards with the Prize in the category of Animal Health for its highly effective multigenic DNA vaccine against canine leishmaniasis. The award, presented at a gala held on November 10 in Vigo, was collected by Vicente Larraga himself and the members of his group Pedro José Alcolea, Francisco Javier Loayza, and Jaime Larraga.
In this edition, which received 50 applications, the Zendal group also presented the Human Health Award to the Valencian biologist Pilar Domingo Calap, from the Institute of Integrative Systems Biology (UV-CSIC), and the One Health platform was recognized in the new category established to award research and actions from an integral perspective. In addition, Dr. Ángel Carracedo was honored for his career.
The award in the Animal Health category is endowed with 25,000 euros and recognizes the importance of the development of Neoleish, the world's second DNA vaccine in animal health.
The CIB Margarita Salas group has been working for almost thirty years on the development of a DNA vaccine against canine leishmaniasis. DNA vaccines are effective, safe, and resistant. They induce a robust activation of the T cells of the Immune System of the vaccinated animal, essential for controlling intracellular infectious agents, such as many parasites. Specifically, they have developed a vaccination vehicle (pPAL) that has proven effective against leishmaniasis in dogs, leading to the development of the highly effective Neoleish™ vaccine. This vehicle does not require antibiotic-resistance genes for selection in the manufacturing process which facilitates its worldwide distribution. This vehicle is currently in use with 100% effective protection against a lethal dose of SARS-CoV-2 virus in the mouse animal model.
The International Zendal Awards aim to disseminate, promote and reward knowledge and research in biotechnology worldwide. Zendal is the corporate brand of the biotechnology group that brings together 7 companies focused on research, development, manufacturing, and marketing of human and animal vaccines and other high-value-added products for the health sector. The companies grouped under its umbrella are CZ Vaccines, Biofabri, Probisearch, Vetia, Petia, Zinereo, and Ovejero.