A Michigan State University
(MSU) researcher is seeking a patent and pharmaceutical deal for an E. coli vaccine. E. coli
kills up to three million children each year in the developing world. It also causes health problems for U.S. troops serving overseas and is responsible for what is commonly called traveler’s diarrhea.
A. Mahdi Saeed, professor of epidemiology and infectious disease in MSU’s Colleges of Veterinary Medicine
and Human Medicine
, spent four years on the project, funded in part by a $510,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health
“This strain of E. coli
is an international health challenge that has a huge impact on humanity,” says Saeed, who developed the vaccine at MSU’s National Food Safety and Toxicology Center
. “By creating a vaccine, we can save untold lives. The implications are massive.”
Saeed hopes that human clinical trials will begin late in the year.
There are several additional human health implications for the vaccine, Saeed says. Many patients who undergo general anesthesia suffer from post-operative paralytic ileus, or an inability to have a bowel movement. A small oral dosage of the vaccine could act as a laxative, which often isn’t prescribed after surgery for fear of side effects, Saeed says. A small dose also could help with urinary retention.
The vaccine will be available for animals as well, Saeed adds. He notes the E. coli
bug also is a major cause of sickness and death for newborn animals such as calves and piglets, which in the United States alone causes $300 million in loss of agricultural products each year.