Uni Research contributes to the development of vaccine candidates for enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC).
ETEC expressing the heat-stable toxin (ST) is among the most important causes of diarrheal disease in children less than 5 years of age in low- and middle-income countries. Diarrhea causes ill health and malnutrition, and is the second most common cause of death among children. Currently available prototype ETEC vaccines target colonization factors and the heat-labile toxin, but not ST. They have so far failed to confer adequate protection, and development of an ST-based vaccine has a high priority.
The vaccine development is based on a unique and comprehensive ST mutational library, established at the University of Bergen and Uni Research, which allows an unprecedented detailed study of the toxin's properties.
The research is conducted in close collaboration with the Centre for International Health, University, Universitety of Bergen, University of Maryland (USA), Institut Pasteur (Frankrike), Indian Institute of Science (India), Tulane University (USA), University of Virginia (USA), and Kansas State University (USA).