The Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) has joined Sabin Vaccine Institute's venture to develop a human hookworm vaccine—which affects 600 million people worldwide—by contributing a proprietary adjuvant as a component. The phase I trial, which began last week in Brazil, aims to reduce the global burden of human hookworm by providing effective long-term protection for those who are most at risk.
IDRI has contributed its proprietary GLA-AF adjuvant for use as a component of the hookworm vaccine, the basis of which is Sabin's Na-GST-1 antigen. Adjuvants are molecular compounds that help stimulate a person's immune system to make a vaccine more effective. They can also reduce the amount of vaccine needed which helps keep the cost to patients as low as possible. GLA formulations have been previously tested clinically with promising results.
The clinical trial is being conducted by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ) of the Brazilian Ministry of Health and will enroll 102 adults between the ages of 18 and 45. Each volunteer participant will receive three injections of Sabin's candidate vaccine over a period of four months. Researchers will then follow each volunteer for 12 additional months, monitoring the vaccine's safety and analyzing the recipient's immune response.
"This vaccine trial is monumental, not just for us, but also for the children living in poverty who bear the burden of hookworm infection," said Peter Hotez, M.D., Ph.D., president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, director of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development. "After more than 10 years of R&D work and with the help of Sabin's PDP partners—especially our partners in Brazil—we are about to show that it's possible to produce a vaccine candidate using a relatively low-cost model. We are filling a gap to produce a vaccine for underrepresented populations, where no traditional commercial market currently exists."