First vaccine for pneumonia treatment could be ready

Image copyright NASA Image caption The vaccine could eliminate the need for several shot-patches The first vaccine for the virus that causes childhood pneumonia has been successfully trialled on children in France, the manufacturer says. …

Image copyright NASA Image caption The vaccine could eliminate the need for several shot-patches

The first vaccine for the virus that causes childhood pneumonia has been successfully trialled on children in France, the manufacturer says.

CoVID-19 has proved to be safe and works, according to a clinical trial by French experts.

The vaccine would be the first to prevent tuberculosis in people under age 18 and the pneumococcal disease.

Insects, which make co-infections as potential opportunistic infections, are known to respond well to this type of vaccine.

Disease prevention

How do they do it? CoVID-19 protects children ages five to 11 against common pneumococcal disease causes including pneumonia and tetanus, two of the 10 most common childhood infections. The vaccine does not contain bacillus thuringiensis type B, which is known to cause infection in young children. CoVID-19 would represent the first vaccine against co-infection in this age group. Only a few countries, such as Japan, Korea and the US, have clinical trials underway for the vaccine to prevent other childhood infections, such as measles and mumps.

Image copyright IMEO Image caption The vaccine works by preventing the ability of bacteria to grow into new bacteria

One of the biggest diseases among children is pneumonia, said to cost the NHS around £1bn annually. This would be avoided if CoVID-19 worked.

First developed in 1986, the vaccine has not been a serious barrier to infection – there were 8,000 unvaccinated children killed by pneumococcal disease in 2017, and up to half the unvaccinated in some areas.

But this trial gives hope of the virus being eventually administered to children.

“It’s great news for our colleagues who work in children’s healthcare – those working to detect, diagnose and treat infection are celebrating,” said Sylvie Guillon, a consultant at the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology in San Francisco and an International Expert Board member on Vaccines for Young People.

“We hope this milestone puts the world closer to a vaccine to eliminate the A. shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacterium from primary infections in children by 2050. Another project for that goal is ‘co-immuneisation’ which is similar to vaccinating human antibodies against an infection while also giving an attenuated Toxoplasma gondii vaccine to children.”

Wendy Morgan, professor of microbiology at the University of Southampton who leads one of the world’s largest microbiology research programmes, said “there is no doubting the potential.”

“Currently, pneumonia and diarrhoea have become the main causes of death in children worldwide. The challenge is to make vaccines that are all that. The potential of a vaccine like CoVID-19 is that the children will be protected from all the causes of disease, which is not the case currently with vaccines,” she added.

Paul Newman, strategy director at CSSPR said having a vaccine that protected young children would be “a game changer”, just as now vaccines protect against common diseases such as measles and Pneumococcal disease.

“It makes so much sense to protect the populations against the viruses that cause the disease because vaccines are a good strategy to keep a healthy population. The expertise around this vaccine has been developed in the UK.”

Image copyright Copyright FSPR Image caption The vaccine is made by vaccinating children against the disease’s precursor virus

The vaccine was developed by French biotech firm, Innovative Actions and is being licensed to the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which, Pfizer says, would be another major step forward in the prevention of these diseases.

“The vaccine we are presenting is a safe and effective way to reduce the risk of serious disease and death in children,” said Dr Alice Rentschler, a key figure on the clinical trial team.

“We now look forward to the preparation of the first clinical studies of the vaccine in young people.”

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