Researcher develops new vaccine for E. Coli killer

Working with grant money provided by the National Institutes of Health, a researcher at Michigan State University has developed a vaccine that he says will guard against a strain of E.Coli that kills millions of children each year in the developing world.

"This strain of E. coli (Enterotoxigenic E. Coli) is an international health challenge that has a huge impact on humanity," said A. Mahdi Saeed, professor of epidemiology and infectious disease in MSU's colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Human Medicine. "By creating a vaccine, we can save untold lives. The implications are massive."

Saeed's key challenge was overcoming the minuscule molecular size of one of the illness-inducing toxins produced by the E. coli bug. Since the toxin was so small, it did not prompt the body's defense system to develop immunity, allowing the same individual to repeatedly get sick, often with more severe health implications. Saeed created a biological carrier to attach to the toxin that once introduced into the body induces a strong immune response.

Saeed says he is hopeful that human trials can get started later this year, adding that a vaccine for animals will also be developed.

- check out the press release for more