Centre for the Evaluation of Vaccination (CEV)

The Centre for the Evaluation of Vaccination (CEV) is headed by Prof. Pierre Van Damme and was established in 1994.

CEV has until present conducted more than 120 vaccine trials (Phase 1-4, with all kinds of vaccines and in all age groups) and more than 20 policy research projects related to vaccina­tion. The Centre has been recognised by the World Health Organization as a WHO Collaborating Centre for the control of viral hepatitis since 1996. There is systematic collaboration with the Centre for Statistics (CenStat) at HasseltUniversity for this research on infectious diseases and vaccination. Evaluation of vaccinations must be considered at large, starting from immunogenicity, effectiveness and safety of a vaccine, the long-term persistence of vaccine-induced antibodies, the impact on the dynamics of an infection, the success of a vaccination programme, and its efficiency (protective efficacy) and economic impact. With regards to technical vaccine research, there is a continuous coopera­tion with the R&D departments of the major vaccine pro­ducers. Regarding policy-oriented research, regional and federal government, and the EU and foreign governmental authorities solicit the expertise of the CEV. For immunologi­cal spin-offs there is close collaboration with LEH (immuno­logical memory after vaccination), and for the serological aspects, the expertise of LMM of Prof. Herman Goossens is called upon. At the same time, CEV offers its Phase I vac­cine research platform to other research groups inside and outside the University of Antwerp and the University Hospital of Antwerp (e.g., within the framework of therapeutic vac­cination as described earlier) in the coming years, the vac­cination study platform will be enhanced with a shortened ‘bedside-to-bench’ delivery time, in order to quickly adjust the vaccine development process.
 
The passive transfer and presence of maternal antibodies in the long term and in addition the post-vaccination immune memory will receive full attention, since these will have an impact on present and future vaccination policies. The possible interference passive mother-to-child transmission of antibodies is important for the start-up of a vaccination pro­gramme for newborns. This research is indeed very timely, because a growing number of women (of childbearing age) have been vaccinated in their childhood, and have never experienced natural infection. This situation will have its effect at the onset of vaccination, and the vaccination of newborns could need to start even earlier. In addition, with support from government attention is given, to further documenting and analysing the safety profiles of vaccines once they have become available on the market.
 
Health economic evaluation and mathematical modelling of infectious diseases have always been important topics of research for the CEV, culminating in 2006 in the inception of the Centre for Health Economics and Modelling Infectious Diseases (CHERMID) by Prof. Philippe Beutels. 
 
Available Expertise:
• Platform for vaccine trials (phase 1-4)
• Epidemiological studies:
      - Vaccin field effectiveness and efficacy studies
      - Vaccination coverage & behavourial studies
      - Sero-epidemiological studies of vaccine preventable infections
      - Transmission of infectious diseases
      - Age related immunological response (including perinatal response and immunoscence)
      - Development of tests to detect vaccine preventable diseases

More information on the team and research activities of CEV is available on the CEV Website