Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Vaccine for Enterotoxigenic E. coli?

We know that Escherichia coli is a bacterium that normally lives in the intestines of humans and other animals. Most types of E. coli are harmless, but some can cause disease. Disease-causing E. coli are grouped according to the different ways by which they cause illness. Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, or ETEC, is the name given to a group of E. coli that produce special toxins which stimulate the lining of the intestines causing them to secrete excessive fluid, thus producing diarrhea. The toxins and the diseases that ETEC causes are not related to ETEC was first recognized as a cause of human diarrheal illness in the 1960s. It have since emerged as a major bacterial cause of diarrhea among travelers and children in the developing world. ETEC is increasingly recognized as an important cause of foodborne illness in developed nations, such as the United States.

ETEC produces two toxins, a heat-stable toxin (known as ST) and a heat-labile toxin (LT). Although different strains of ETEC can secrete either one or both of these toxins, the illness caused by each toxin is similar.

Infection with ETEC can cause profuse watery diarrhea and abdominal cramping. Fever, nausea with or without vomiting, chills, loss of appetite, headache, muscle aches and bloating can also occur but are less common. Illness develops 1-3 days after exposure and usually lasts 3-4 days. Some infections may take a week or longer to resolve. Symptoms rarely last more than 3 weeks. Most patients recover with supportive measures alone and do not require hospitalization or antibiotics.

Antibiotics can shorten the duration of diarrheal illness and discomfort, especially if given early, but they are usually not required. ETEC is frequently resistant to common antibiotics, including trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and ampicillin. Because resistance to antibiotics is increasing worldwide, the decision to use an antibiotic should be carefully weighed against the severity of illness and the risk of adverse reactions, such as rash, antibiotic-associated colitis, and vaginal yeast infection. Fluoroquinolones have been shown to be effective therapy.

Now thanx to A. Mahdi Saeed, a professor of epidemiology and infectious disease in MSU's colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Human Medicine has achieved a milestone - he has successfully developed vaccine for this, congrats for his group. Saeed created a biological carrier to attach to the toxin that once introduced into the body induces a strong immune response. This was done by mapping the toxin's biology and structure during the design of the vaccine. After creating the carrier in a lab at MSU, Saeed and his team tested it on mice and found the biological activity of the toxin was enhanced by more than 40 percent, leading to its recognition by the body's immune system. After immunizing a group of 10 rabbits, the vaccine led to the production of the highest neutralizing antibody ever reported for this type of the toxin. Though human clinical trials are yet to be done the group is optimistic about the outcome. The Vaccine, also has some other properties like a laxative (helping the bowel movement for the post surgery anestheia impact) and urinary retention. Hope they will achieve the claims. Once again congratulation for this achievement. More ....

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