Norovirus Vaccine Candidate Shows Positive Results
A biotechnology company announced that its norovirus tablet vaccine (VXA-G1.1-NN) generated broad immune responses, and was well-tolerated in a clinical phase 1b study.
“Unlike vaccines delivered by injection, our oral tablet vaccine is delivered directly to the intestine, creating both a local response that serves as an effective first line of defense and a systemic response that offers an extra layer of protection,” said Sean Tucker, Ph.D., chief scientific officer of Vaxart.
“This paired immune response is a fundamental feature of our oral vaccine that could provide an important advantage over injectable vaccines,” said Dr. Tucker.
Norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis, an intestinal infection affecting 19 to 21 million people in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC estimates that norovirus causes approximately 56,000 to 71,000 hospitalizations and 570 to 800 deaths annually.
Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that most people will contract 5 times in their lifetime, the most serious outcomes are far more common among children and the elderly.
In this study, Vaxart evaluated four different dosing regimens of the norovirus tablet vaccine in adults. Across all groups, 60 to 100 percent of adults had a positive immune response depending on the dosing schedule.
Based on these results, Vaxart is planning to initiate a Phase 2 norovirus challenge study in 2018.
In a recent Johns Hopkins University study, researchers estimated healthcare costs of norovirus at $4.2 billion and lost productivity costs at $64 billion globally.
“You only seem to hear about it when people get sick on a cruise ship or at a restaurant, but norovirus is everywhere,” says study leader Sarah M. Bartsch, MPH, a research associate at the Bloomberg School.
“It doesn’t matter how old you are or if you’re in a wealthy country or a poorer one or if you’ve had it before – you can get it again. And it is really unpleasant. But if we don’t focus on norovirus and teach people how to prevent it, little headway will be made to combat it.”
Visit this website for further information on norovirus, its burden on human health and vaccine development.