Granted awarded to study the effectiveness of Prevnar 13

A $7.1 million grant has been given to the Rochester General Hospital Research Institute in Rochester, N.Y., to study the effectiveness of a new vaccine against the bacteria that causes ear infections in children.

The five year study will follow children who receive the Prevnar 13 vaccine, reports, with Michael E. Pichichero, director of the RGH Research Institute, acting as the principal investigator.

Pfizer Vaccine Research, which is funding the grant, manufactures Prevnar. Prevnar is given to all children in the U.S. during infancy as a means of preventing pneumococcus bacteria infection. Pneumococcus bacteria are the common cause of spinal meningitis, pneumonia, bacterial sepsis, and ear and sinus infections.

Prevnar was first licensed in 2000, reports, with Prevnar 13, the new version of the vaccine, released in February 2010. Prevnar 13 includes several important changes to maintain effectiveness against new bacterial strains that have become antibiotic resistant.

“During the next five years, we will be tracking the pneumococcus strains that cause ear infections in children in the Rochester area,” Pichichero told “Our mission is to identify any changes in the strains of pneumococcus that may emerge after introduction of Prevnar 13 earlier this year. This data will help the scientific community respond appropriately to any new bacterial threats.”

The study will be conducted in collaboration with the Ear Infection Research Center at Legacy Pediatrics in Rochester, led by Janet R. Casey, reports. Four other area pediatric practices, including Long Pond Pediatrics, Sunrise Pediatrics, Westfall Pediatrics and Lewis Pediatrics will also participate in the study.