Patents will accelerate IVI's development of a vaccine against a deadly diarrheal disease that strikes millions in the developing world
The International Vaccine Institute (IVI), an international organization based in Seoul devoted to research on the development and introduction of vaccines for the developing world, reached a milestone in its aim to prevent and control dysentery (also commonly called shigellosis or bloody diarrhea), a deadly disease that affects several million people worldwide. This infectious disease, caused by the bacterial pathogen Shigella, is a major health problem in developing countries, as young children are particularly vulnerable to the disease. The United States Patent and Trademark Office recently issued two patents on "Novel Shigella protein antigens and methods" to IVI. These two patents will accelerate the Institute's current efforts in developing an effective and low-cost vaccine for use among impoverished communities afflicted by dysentery.
The Shigella vaccine patents, which will expire in 2029, are the most recently issued patents of IVI. IVI filed these two patents (Applications No. 12/603,574 and No. 12/692,187) following its discovery of novel common protein antigens in several Shigella species that could be used as the basis of a universal vaccine against bacillary dysentery. With the potential to provide cross-protection across species and serotypes of Shigella, this could be the first broadly protective vaccine against dysentery. The patents claim vaccine compositions comprising either of two novel conserved Shigella proteins and a conjugate molecule comprising an O-specific polysaccharide antigen of Shigella bacteria covalently bound to either of these Shigella proteins.
Dr. Cecil Czerkinsky, IVI's Deputy Director-General of Laboratory Sciences and Dr. Dong Wook Kim, Associate Professor at Hanyang University and former IVI scientist, reported the original discovery of the Shigella common protein antigens in a provisional patent application filed in October 2008. Dr. Czerkinsky commented, "We are extremely excited about the issuance of the Shigella vaccine patents. It further reinforces our belief that these common proteins, through their immunological properties, may be highly effective in preventing shigellosis, a diarrheal disease that claims countless lives of children every year, mainly in developing countries."
"This patent issuance is an important milestone on IVI's path of delivering a new vaccine against another killer infectious disease," added Dr. Christian Loucq, IVI's Director-General. "Furthermore, it underlies the dynamism and productivity of IVI scientists."