Tech Transfer eNews Blog

OHSU start-up develops vaccine targeting diarrheal disease found in developing countries


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: July 1st, 2020

A start-up from Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) is developing a vaccine for bacterial gastroenteritis, a diarrheal disease that afflicts hundreds of millions of people in developing countries across the globe.

The vaccine from start-up Najít Technologies uses bacteria that have been inactivated by a hydrogen peroxide-based approach known as HydroVax technology. In tests on monkeys, the vaccine conferred 83% immunity against diarrhea associated with Campylobacter, a bacteria linked to the disease.

“We’re hoping to move forward into clinical trials, because this is a huge problem around the world,” says Mark Slifka, professor at OHSU and president and chief science offer at Najit. “Campylobacter has been associated with infant growth stunting. Targeting a disease like this can help a lot of people, including kids in developing countries [who can] grow stronger by reducing the damage caused by these bacteria.”

The disease also affects travelers and U.S. residents due to complications associated with foodborne diarrhea, including an autoimmune disease known as Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

“Many people don’t realize how much of a problem Campylobacter is here in the U.S.,” says Ian Amanna, vice president for research at Najít. “Studies have shown that these bacteria are responsible for up to $5.6 billion in economic costs annually in America.”

The start-up is also developing hydrogen peroxide-based vaccines against West Nile Virus, yellow fever, and Chikungunya virus. It will continue to develop the Campylobacter vaccine to prepare it for human clinical trials.

Source: OHSU News

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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