Published On: Wed, Jul 17th, 2013

Sabin to launch vaccine discovery program for parasitic worms

In a press release Monday, The Sabin Vaccine Institute Product Development Partnership (Sabin PDP) announced the launch of a soil-transmitted helminth (STH) vaccine discovery program.

Two Ascaris lumbricoides nematods, i.e., roundworms. The larger of the two was the female of the species, while the normally smaller male was on the right. Image/CDC

Two Ascaris lumbricoides nematodes, i.e., roundworms. The larger of the two was the female of the species, while the normally smaller male was on the right.

The Sabin PDP will endeavor to advance lead candidate antigens for ascariasis (roundworm) and trichuriasis (whipworm) infections and incorporate them into existing hookworm and schistosomiasis vaccines currently being developed by the Sabin PDP to create a vaccine against all four major human helminth infections.

“I felt compelled to support efforts to develop a vaccine against the four most devastating parasitic worm infections because more than one billion innocent people, many of them small children, are unnecessarily plagued by these diseases,” explained Dr. Gary K. Michelson. “I hope that rigorous research, studies and testing conducted by the Sabin PDP, along with additional investments, will eventually lead to meaningful discoveries.”

“We are excited to add this momentous program to the Sabin PDP’s existing portfolio of neglected tropical disease (NTD) vaccines,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, director of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development and dean of Baylor College of Medicine’s National School of Tropical Medicine. “This new initiative opens a potential way forward to alleviate the suffering of millions of people living in extreme poverty worldwide. A vaccine to prevent ascariasis and trichuriasis would be a significant public health advancement, particularly when co-formulated with hookworm and schistosomiasis antigens in a pan-anthelminthic vaccine.”

According to the Global Network, Ascariasis, also known as roundworm, is an intestinal infection caused by the parasitic worm Ascaris lumbricoides, and is part of a family of parasites known as the soil-transmitted helminths. Ascariasis is most prevalent in warm tropical and sub-tropical climates in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, and it flourishes in areas with poor sanitation or where crops are irrigated by improperly treated wastewater.Ascariasis is the most common human worm infection. More than 1 billion people worldwide are infected with ascariasis, and more than 60,000 die from the disease annually.

Trichuriasis is an infection of the large intestine caused by the human whipworm (Trichuris trichiura).  Trichuriasis is part of a family of parasites known as the soil-transmitted helminths. Whipworms thrive in warm, humid tropical climates and infect 800 million people worldwide.

Both parasites are soil-transmitted helminths.

The vaccine discovery program is being implemented thanks to generous support from the Gary Karlin Michelson, M.D. Charitable Foundation, Inc.

Press release

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- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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