After mapping the gene for the E. coli bacterium, researchers for Novartis believe that they have found the key elements needed to create a vaccine that can protect people from all the bacterial infections that E. coli can cause.
The mapping program successfully guided scientists to nine antigens that protected mice from E. coli. Certain strains of the bacteria in meat and produce can cause a violent physical reaction in people ranging from blood poisoning to neonatal meningitis.
"We know that we have the potential there, and this could mean that once you get vaccinated you could even be covered against all the different diseases that E. coli can cause," Novartis researcher Mariagrazia Pizza told Reuters. "The development of such a vaccine will be very challenging for the company, but if we were successful at the end, obviously it would be a big thing."