Mapping the spread of diarrheal bacteria supports the design of our new vaccine

Every year hundreds of thousands of people die from diarrhea caused by ETEC bacteria. A study published in Nature Genetics describes how the University of Gothenburg, our collaborators, have mapped the spread of ETEC strains around the world. It provides key information about how pathogenic bacteria arise, which will be important for our vaccine currently under development.

400 000 children under five years die every year from diarrheal diseases caused by ETEC bacteria. Traveler’s diarrhea is also often caused by ETEC, and is the most common infectious disease among travelers to tropical countries. Our vision is to successfully develop a vaccine that could save hundred thousands of lives in the Third World, but also can save the holiday for millions of travelers. Today there is no ETEC vaccine available to address these unmet needs.

Of global benefit

By comprehensive DNA analyses it has been possible to map how bacteria are spread and to show that some of the dangerous strains of ETEC derive from a single bacterium that has spread all around the world. ETEC-mediated disease is actually a set of overlapping global epidemics of individual ETEC lineages, which have been stable over substantial periods of time in endemic areas. This new information about the genetic composition of ETEC bacteria and how they spread means that we are a step closer to reducing the prevalence of diarrheal diseases worldwide. The vaccine that we are developing together with University of Gothenburg is based on the major colonization factors identified in ETEC causing diarrhea. This study strengthens the possibility that the vaccine could be protective against a large proportion of ETEC diarrhea cases and have a true global benefit.

Largest collection of strains

Our collaboration partner, University of Gothenburg, are world leaders in ETEC research and have one of the  world´s largest collection of ETEC strains. In the study published in Nature Genetics researchers focused on a total of 362 strains, which were isolated from children, adults and travelers affected by diarrhea in Africa, Asia and Latin America in the last 30 years. The study show that all patient groups are affected to the same extent by diarrhea caused by the different strains of ETEC. It is therefore highly likely that our vaccine will work for both children, adults and travelers.

The full text article can be found at: http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ng.3145.html


Björn Sjöstrand, CEO
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