UM SOM awarded $2.47 million grant to develop vaccine against Shigella, ETEC infections

The University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) has been awarded a three-year, $2.47 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop a vaccine to protect against Shigella and Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC), pathogens which are among the leading causes of diarrheal diseases in young children in developing countries and a common cause of "traveler's diarrhea" among travelers to these countries.

The Principal Investigators at UM SOM on the grant are Eileen M. Barry, PhD, Professor of Medicine, and Wilbur H. Chen, MD, MS, Associate Professor of Medicine. Co-Investigator is Myron M Levine MD, DTPH, the Simon and Bessie Grollman Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean for Global Health, Vaccinology and Infectious Diseases.

"Nearly half a million children die each year of diarrheal diseases, and Shigella and ETEC infections are a common cause," said Dr. Barry. "This grant will help us translate our research into a vaccine ready for human trials."

Shigella and ETEC infections typically follow the ingestion of contaminated food or water. Shigella can also be transferred by person-to-person contact. The vaccine to be developed will include up to four live but mild strains of Shigella, which will express protective antigens from ETEC, a type of E. Coli.

Researchers in UM SOM's Center for Vaccine Development (CVD), under the direction of Dr. Barry, have already developed a prototype Shigella-ETEC vaccine that has been tested in animals. The overall goal of this latest research is to translate the current prototype Shigella-ETEC vaccine to a potential human vaccine ready to enter Phase 1 clinical trials.

PaxVax, Inc. of Redwood City, CA. will provide overall strategic guidance for this translation, including regulatory support.

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