Our ETEC vaccine will be an important tool to battle diarrheal disease
Being healthy is the most important thing in life and to prevent disease is something we all strive for. Vaccination is one of the most effective and cost-effective medical interventions available.
Worldwide, diarrheal disease is a leading cause of childhood death in developing countries. Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) infection is one of the most common causes of diarrhea in developing countries, responsible for around 400 million cases and hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. Children under the age of five years are most affected. ETEC bacteria also cause diarrhea in nearly one in two travelers to these areas, and over 10% of ill travelers may go on to develop functional bowel disorders during convalescence. Today there is no ETEC vaccine available to address these unmet medical needs.
Scandinavian Biopharma is a Swedish research-based biotech company. The company is a leading distributor of vaccines and immunoglobulins to the Nordic market. Together with the American non-profit organization, PATH Vaccine Solutions and researchers at the University of Gothenburg, the company is developing a new ETEC vaccine. In several clinical trials the vaccine has showed impressive results, been proven safe and shown a much better ability to activate the immune system than expected.
The development of an ETEC vaccine is critical, especially for developing countries where diarrheal diseases are most prevalent and the medical infrastructure is limited. Here medical care and treatment is often limited and hard to access, and diarrhea can be deadly. A vaccine against ETEC could save hundreds of thousands of children a year who now die from these infections.
This year we have started to test our ETEC vaccine in different age groups, including infants, in a Phase I/II clinical trial in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Data from the trial will provide additional evidence of safety and immunogenicity in infants and establish the appropriate dose. This is the first important step to show that our vaccine will improve children’s chances of winning the fight against diarrheal disease. In parallel, we are also preparing for a clinical efficacy study in travelers.
Our vision is to successfully develop a vaccine that could save lives in the Third World, but also can save the holiday for millions of travelers. A proof that we are on the right path and that our vaccine is of very high standard is that we are supported by PATH, an important product development partner of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Before the product is on the market further studies are required, but so far it looks very promising.