Vaccine Skin Patch Prevent Travelers Diarrhea

There seems to be another solution to a frequent problem that hounds many travelers, diarrhea. There is a new vaccine skin patch that has been developed that may help prevent traveler’s diarrhea according to researchers. A skin patch may seem an unlikely solution to this problem, but it seems that it might just make traveler’s diarrhea a thing of the past for people going on frequent trips out of the country.

Researchers have discovered that the consumption of food and drink contaminated with the toxic forms of E. coli is the cause of traveler’s diarrhea. E. coli is a bacterium usually found in the gastrointestinal tract of humans that can cause food poisoning. Traveler’s diarrhea usually last for up to five days and is characterized by vomiting, abdominal cramps, nausea and dehydration. It can be a severe and agonizing episode for any traveler to go through.

The researchers believe that making the body more able to withstand the toxic effects of the E. coli bacteria may help prevent the occurrence of traveler’s diarrhea. That is how the skin patch was developed. The said patch contains a minute number of E. coli, and acts as a vaccine to help the body to develop antibodies to fight off infection caused by the E. coli bacteria.

In order to work, two doses of the said vaccine is required. According to Dr. Gregory Glenn, head of IOMAI Corp., the company from Maryland that developed the skin patch, "To date, there is no vaccine for this. People with the condition go to bed and are treated with antibiotics". The vaccine allows the body’s immune system to develop a robust response to the bacteria.

The development of the skin patch included a Phase II trial where 178 travelers to Mexico or Guatemala were given either the vaccine patch or a placebo patch. Of the 111 participants given with placebo patches, 24 of them developed traveler’s diarrhea, with 11 of the diarrhea cases caused by E. coli. 59 of the participants were given the vaccine patch with 12 of them experienced diarrhea, but with only three caused by E. coli. The skin patch was said to be effective for the group 84 percent of the time.

Although the skin patch may have to go through a Phase II trial, Dr. Glenn is hoping that the skin patch vaccine will become available to the public by 2011.



Leave a Reply