Ear Infection Vaccine Effort Underway

Human trials expected within a year, organizers say

THURSDAY, June 16, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- A powerful group of public and private institutions are literally earmarking funds and expertise toward a vaccine against common ear infections.

Researchers at the Columbus Children's Research Institute (CCRI) at Columbus Children's Hospital in Ohio have partnered with the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the FDA, pharmaceutical companies and other scientists in this large effort to develop the vaccine.

"An alliance of this nature has not been formed since the development of the pertussis vaccine for whooping cough. Through the collaboration, human trials of a vaccine candidate are expected to begin within a year," Lauren Bakaletz, director of the CCRI Microbial Pathogenesis Center, said in a prepared statement.

Children typically develop ear infections when they get a cold. The cold virus mixes with bacteria that live at the back of the throat, then those bacteria travel to the middle ear.

This vaccine helps children develop immune antibodies to the bacteria, preventing them from reaching the middle ear.

The CCRI scientists are investigating both an injectable formula and a nasal spray version of the vaccine, which is intended for use in infants. Children younger than 4 years old are most likely to suffer ear infections.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about ear infections.

SOURCE: Columbus Children's Hospital, news release, June 7, 2005
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