Oral vax provides big assist to patients with severe COPD

An experimental oral vaccine built with the bacteria that triggers childhood meningitis significantly reduced the level and severity of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder flare-ups in a small group of patients.

A team of Australian researchers tested the vaccine in a group of 38 patients suffering from severe COPD.  They noted a 63 percent reduction in moderate to severe exacerbations, a 37 percent reduction in the duration of these attacks and a whopping 90 percent drop in hospitalizations due to exacerbations.

The team created the vaccine HI-164OV using the Haemophilus influenza bacteria, which triggers meningitis. Australia's Hunter Immunology makes the vaccine.

"It's not an ideal study but it is suggestive that using this novel oral vaccine can reduce the number of serious COPD exacerbations," says Dr. Norman Edelman, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association. "That's a very significant finding and could be a very, very useful tool in the management of severe COPD."

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