MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

New vaccine developed to control autism symptoms

Researchers at the University of Guelph have created the first-ever vaccine to control gastrointestinal symptoms commonly found in autistic children.

Guelph master's student Brittany Pequegnat and Guelph chemistry professor Mario Monteiro headed the study. The vaccine they created is carbohydrate-based and protects against the intestinal bug Clostridium bolteae, which most commonly appears in the GI tracts of autistic children.

Approximately 90 percent of autistic children suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms, which include diarrhea and other severe and chronic symptoms. In pre-clinical trials, the new vaccine targeted carbohydrates on the surface of the C. bolteae bug and increased antibodies.

With autism cases increasing sixfold in the past 20 years, and with scientists not having a solid reason as to why, Monteiro said the vaccine is "a significant first step in the design of a multivalent vaccine against several autism-related gut bacteria."

Despite this new development having the ability to help those that suffer from the gastrointestinal issues that often come with autism, the vaccine will take more than 10 years until it is ready for the market, Monteiro said.

Pequengnat and Monteiro's research was supported by the Engineering Research Council and Natural Sciences.