The activities of UNISEC are organized in 8 work packages (WPs): WP1 is devoted to project organization, WP2-5 deals with scientific issues around vaccine design and preclinical development, WP6 focuses on clinical trials, WP7 organizes, registers and coordinates dissemination activities, whereas WP8 takes responsibility for ethical issues. All WPs have started their activities immediately after the official project start on October 1, 2013. The last 18 months have been very successful as demonstrated by the fact that all deliverables and milestones have been achieved.
The UNISEC consortium expects that by the end of the project period at least one promising universal influenza vaccine candidate will have been identified and will be ready to enter phase III clinical studies. If successful in further clinical testing the candidate vaccine will be made available to European manufacturers thereby strengthening their market position. The lead user of the UNISEC final product will be the European population which will be better protected from seasonal epidemics as well as pandemics caused by newly emerging virus strains.
In addition to these direct, yet long-term, impacts UNISEC will also enhance future vaccine development in indirect ways: (i) The UNISEC work program will contribute to the resolution of current problems of non-uniformity in the (pre-)clinical development and evaluation of universal influenza vaccines in Europe by a unified approach using an expert and sustainable vaccine expertise network.(ii) The UNISEC project will deliver a portfolio of validated methods for evaluation of immune responses for influenza vaccines. (iii) UNISEC can serve as an example for coordinated development of vaccines (and possibly drugs) as it is a unique initiative in which the partners have set aside competition issues and have rather committed themselves to provide candidate vaccines and expertise for head-to-head comparisons with the aim to focus further investments on the most promising vaccine candidate(s).