WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

Sabin Vaccine Institute launches vaccine discovery program

The Sabin Vaccine Institute Product Development Partnership recently announced the launch of a vaccine discovery program for soil-transmitted helminth meant to develop candidates for stopping roundworm and whipworm infections.

Sabin PDP said the program to develop candidate antigens for roundworm, also known as ascariasis, and whipworm, also known as trichuriasis, would not be possible without support from the Gary Karlin Michelson, M.D. Charitable Foundation, Inc. Sabin PDP will attempt to incorporate the new vaccines into existing schistosomiasis and hookworm vaccines, creating 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," Gary Michelson, the founder of Gary Karlin Michelson, M.D. Charitable Foundation, Inc., said. "I hope that rigorous research, studies and testing conducted by the Sabin PDP, along with additional investments, will eventually lead to meaningful discoveries."

Ascariasis is a small intestine infection that affects an estimated 800 to 900 million people, causing acute intestinal obstruction in young children with high worm loads and thousands of deaths every year. Trichuriasis is a large intestine infection that affects approximately 500 million people and is a significant cause of inflammatory bowel disease in developing countries. Both infections can impede physical and cognitive growth in children.

"We are excited to add this momentous program to the Sabin PDP's existing portfolio of neglected tropical disease vaccines," Peter Hotez, the president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, said. "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."

The project will leverage Sabin PDP's technical and programmatic infrastructure to carry out discovery, preclinical evaluation and early feasibility studies of roundworm and whipworm infections.

"We are deeply grateful for Dr. Michelson's bold leadership and profound commitment to advancing essential scientific discovery work that will improve the lives of those most burdened by neglected tropical diseases," Hotez said.