Finlay Institute develops two cholera vaccine candidates to prevent this dangerous disease
By: Patricia Cáceres
Cuban Finlay Institute works to develop two cholera vaccine candidates. Cholera is a severe diarrheic disease that causes between 100 000 to 120 000 deaths in the world each year according to data from the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO).
This news was told to Juventud Rebelde by Deputy Director of Applied Research at the Finlay Institute Doctor Reinaldo Acevedo Grogues during the 20th Latin-American Congress on Pharmacology and Therapeutics (Latinfarma Habana 2013) that is underway at Havana’s Convention Center from October 21 to 25.
Doctor Reinaldo Acevedo Grogues said that the Finlay Institute works to obtain an attenuated vaccine and an inactivated onevaccine for cholera.
The attenuated vaccine is the result of a project of more than 10 years, carried out with the collaboration of the National Scientific Research Center (CENIC), he said.
This vaccine candidate is composed of a cholera live bacterium, which virulence factors have been previously extracted. It is a strain of the disease; but it is not a pathogenic one.
This attenuated vaccine is orally administrated, simulating a natural infection. When the bacterium enters the body, it triggers a response of the immune system without casing the decease to the patient.
In comparison to other vaccines already available in the world, this vaccine will only need a dose to eliminate the virus in 72 hours, the deputy director explains.
The micro-organism continues reproducing within the patient, he adds, and the immune system continues to respond as if it were dealing with several doses, therefore it is not necessary to immunize several times, as it happens in the case of some death inactivated vaccines used all over the world.
The attenuated cholera strain vaccine, which is still in its developing stage, has been assessed in Cuba and Mozambique, reporting good safe and immunogenic registers. A clinical trial in children is planned for the end of the present year, Acevedo said.
Although the vaccine is in an advanced stage of the clinical trial, ,it is not possible to declare yet that Cuba has a vaccine for cholera. None false expectation should be created, he said.
The other vaccine candidate proposed by Finlay Institute is the so- called inactivated vaccine, which in contrast to the previous one, is composed by death organisms.
The deputy director of Productive Development at the Finlay Intitute Sonsire Fernandez Castillo, MSc., said that the inactivated candidate vaccine will be cheaper to produce than the attenuated candidate vaccine.
She said that inactivated candidate is simpler. Live vaccines in general demands substantial resources, technologies, and logistics for its production.
She explains that there is also a fear that administrating live vaccines to immunodepressed patients, such as the ones suffering AIDS, may affect them negatively. Many people believe that the administration of a live active principle may cause problem. Then, the inactivated vaccine is an alternative to them.
The vaccine will be orally administrated in two doses. However; this candidate needs further research time before it can reach patients.
She said that both the attenuated and the inactivated variant are currently in development with its specifications and benefits, though the attenuated is in a more advanced stage.
Translated by ESTI for JuventudRebelde