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Scientists Develop New, More Efficient Pneumonia Vaccine

Scientists Develop New, More Efficient Pneumonia Vaccine

Wednesday, 6 February, 2019 - 06:00
A nurse prepares an injection of the influenza vaccine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. BRIAN SNYDER/Reuters
Cairo - Hazem Badr
Researchers at the University of Adelaide, Australia, have developed a new vaccine for Streptococcus pneumonia, which is the leading cause of many common diseases including sinus and ear infections, meningitis, and pneumonia.

In a report published Monday on the university's website, the researchers announced that the new vaccine targets all the 98 strains of these bacteria, while the current vaccines target only 13.

Professor James Paton, director of the University of Adelaide's Research Center for Infectious Diseases, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the existing pneumococcal vaccine targets the outside coat of complex carbohydrates and covers only 13 of its 98 strains.

The new vaccine developed by the University of Adelaide's researchers, however, covers the outside coat of complex carbohydrates of all the bacteria's strains, providing a more inclusive protection.

"The vaccine has not caused any side-effects in animal experiments, which have been documented in researches published over the last three years. Clinical trials are expected to begin in humans within two years from now, before launching the commercial production of the vaccine by a company established for this purpose," Paton said.

Sixteen months ago, Adelaide-based GPN Vaccines was created to develop this novel vaccine. The company has already secured investment from local angel investors as well as a major grant from the National Health & Medical Research Council and a Commercialization grant from the South Australian Government.

Paton predicted that the new vaccine would be sold at a price lower than the current $150-vaccine covering only 13 of Streptococcus pneumonia strains.

According to Paton, these bacteria are described as the largest bacterial killer on Earth, the most common cause of pneumonia, responsible for about 20% of children deaths under five years old in developing countries, and globally responsible for about two million deaths annually.

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