Vaccine against asthma

Mucosal application of RSV antigens to prevent juvenile bronchial asthma

Bronchial asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the respiratory tract. About 10 percent of children in western Europe suffer from asthma, making it the most common chronic disease in childhood and adolescence. Even though the disease disappears in about half of the patients with puberty, many of them suffer relapses in adulthood or retain a permanent sensitivity of the respiratory tract.

Bronchial asthma cannot be cured at present, but various drug therapies are available.

Innovative vaccination method to combat bronchial asthma

The project will lay the foundations for a new vaccination procedure to protect against juvenile bronchial asthma. Several candidates will be tested against each other for immunization. These include a candidate based on non-human papilloma pseudoviruses, an inactivated vaccine treated with low-energy electron irradiation and a nanoparticle vaccine. All vaccines are administered via inhalers or nasal sprays.

Example candidate: Non-human papillomaviruses package nucleic acids

Modern medicine is making increasing use of nucleic acids, i.e. DNA and RNA. Application of gene sequences is used, for example, in gene therapies or as DNA vaccines. The latter offer various advantages over conventional vaccination methods, including rapid production, simple adaptation, and high stability. In addition, the encoded antigens are produced by the body itself and are thus correctly modified or folded. Immunization with DNA vaccines activates both the cellular and the humoral immune defenses, i.e. the production of antibodies by B lymphocytes, and thus contributes to effective protection against the pathogens.

The greatest challenge in the use of this technology is safe transfer of the genetic material into human body cells.

Different methods are available for this, many of which, however, are fraught with problems. Electroporation, for example, is invasive, painful, and requires special equipment. Other procedures also require physical procedures, special equipment (pressure injection, gene gun), or sometimes involve toxic chemicals (cationic liposomes, polyethyleneimine, calcium nanoparticles). The use of non-human papilloma pseudoviruses enables a non-invasive and painless transfer of nucleic acids into body cells.


This project aims to develop a formulation of the vaccine that can be administered nasally or by inhalation effectively. After extensive characterization in vitro, its efficacy and tolerability will have to be tested in animal models – as a prerequisite for preclinical and clinical development of the vaccines.