Sunday, June 15, 2008

Last Stand for Montezuma's Revenge?

Traveler’s diarrhea, known by many names, has long been considered a rite of passage for visitors to places like Mexico and Central America. Yet a new vaccine being developed by Iomai Vaccines, of Gaithersburg, MD, may prove to be the best prophylaxis yet for the painful malady – if not the cure.

From WebMD, as reported by CBS News:

Researchers testing the experimental diarrhea vaccine found it reduced the likelihood of contracting traveler's diarrhea among people going to high-risk areas like Mexico. In addition, travelers treated with the vaccine who did develop diarrhea had shorter and less severe episodes than

Researchers say 27 million travelers and 210 million children each year are stricken with diarrhea, often from eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated beverages. Traveler's diarrhea usually lasts about four to five days; symptoms include loose stools, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and dehydration.

According to the drug company, the vaccine is delivered through a patch worn in advance of exposure to the various forms of e-coli, the bacteria which most commonly causes the symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea. WebMD notes that the patch is used to mitigate the dosis, in part because “the compound is too toxic to be delivered by traditional vaccination methods, such as by mouth, injections, or nasal sprays.”

The successful phase II study was recently published in the UK medical journal, The Lancet. While the patch is not yet available for purchase, Iomai reports that phase III is planned for early 2009.

Sources: WebMD, CBS News, The Lancet,

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