The Bordetella pertussis bacteria triggers more than 40 million cases of whooping cough annually, killing 300,000 worldwide, including some people vaccinated in childhood.
Now the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) is testing an improved single-dose vaccine delivered right where most bacteria enters — the nose. Such a single-dose spray would particularly benefit people in developing countries, where multiple-dose approaches are hard to maintain.
VIDO began in 1975 by developing and delivering livestock vaccines to producers, but it now focuses on chronic diseases, infectious and otherwise, in both animals and humans. The organization combines a centre for studying new vaccine development and disease pathogenesis; the Pan-Provincial Vaccine Enterprise (PREVENT), a non-profit program to bring vaccines to market; and, slated to open in 2010, a Containment Level 3 International Vaccine Centre (InterVac) for testing animal and human high-risk diseases.
“The three,” says VIDO/InterVac director Andrew Potter, “bring together an international strategy for the protection of Canadians and others from the leading cause of disease and death worldwide — infectious diseases — and the ability to respond rapidly to emerging threats.”