Traveler's Diarrhea Patch Vaccine Works Well

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Traveler's diarrhea experimental patch vaccine successfully protects travelers from Montezuma's Revenge.

Those traveling to Mexico and Guatemala frequently suffer from traveler's diarrhea - Montezuma's Revenge - which is caused by a stomach bug. The diarrhea can last from 4 to 5 days and can be accompanied with dehydration, nausea and cramps.

Iomai Corp.'s experimental vaccine is a needle-free vaccine - it is an easy to apply patch and it doesn't require to be used a certain amount of days before traveling. The patch can be applied just when arriving in the country and will start protecting the body immediately.

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Vaccine mainly protects against Escherichia coli bacteria, specifically a ETEC strain of the bacteria. It is most successful when applied two weeks before traveling in two doses. Traveler's diarrhea vaccine is in patch form, because its ingredient is too toxic for other form of intake, such as oral, nasal, or injection form.

An independent group from DuPont examined 187 people traveling to Mexico and Guatemala - hot spots for Montezuma's Revenge. 111 of them received a placebo and 59 of them received Iomai patches. Among placebo group travelers 24 cases of diarrhea were reported with 11 cases associated with Escherichia coli bacteria. Among vaccine group travelers 12 cases of diarrhea were reported with 3 cases associated with Escherichia coli bacteria.

Moderate diarrhea cases were 21% and 5% among placebo and vaccine groups, and severe diarrhea cases were 11% and 2%. This means that Iomai's patch vaccine protects from 75% of moderate and from 84% of severe diarrhea cases. Besides, those who received the vaccine and got the bug anyway reported shorter episode of diarrhea than those who received a placebo.

Traveler's diarrhea affects 27 million adult and 210 million children every year, and those traveling to Guatemala or Mexico have 50% risk for getting the bug. About 380000 child death cases occurred because of Montezuma's Revenge. Currently, there is no vaccine against the disease, but Iomai plans the last major clinical trial to test the patch vaccine. If the trial is successful, the company will submit the vaccine to FDA approval.

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