Advancements made with vaccines for middle ear infections

Advancements made with vaccines for middle ear infections.
Advancements made with vaccines for middle ear infections. | Courtesy of
A team of scientists from the Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics and the Nationwide Children’s Hospital based in Ohio recently discovered new evidence that will help vaccine developers create vaccines for middle ear infections.

"The treatment of otitis media is currently with antibiotics and the insertion of ear tubes (tympanostomy)," Professor Michael Jennings, principal research leader at the Institute for Glycomics, said. "If there was a vaccine developed, this would dramatically reduce the amount of antibiotics prescribed."

The paper, titled “A biphasic epigenetic switch controls immunoevasion, virulence and niche adaptation in non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae,” was published with further details in the Nature Communications journal.

"Through this research we have been able to understand the lifestyle of the bug and its adaptation to us as hosts, and therefore we now have a better idea of which surface proteins are good targets for vaccine development," Jennings said. "This is a very important stepping stone to a vaccine and will save developers a considerable amount of time and money."

Middle ear infections, also called otitis media, account for the majority of children’s visits to doctors. These infections are also one of the main reasons that children have pediatric surgical procedures.

"This research study highlights the Institute's commitment in finding solutions for difficult childhood diseases," Institute for Glycomics Director Mark von Itzstein said.

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