The Sabin Vaccine Institute has announced a two-year, $12 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help develop a vaccine to prevent hookworm infection, which affects 600 million people worldwide, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.
The grant will support Phase 1 clinical trials for a recombinant protein-based vaccine that prevents disease caused by the hookwork species Necator americanus, which accounts for 85 percent of hookworm cases. The vaccine is being developed by an international product development partnership that includes Sabin, the Fundação Oswaldo Cruz and Instituto Butantan in Brazil, James Cook University in Australia, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The announcement coincides with a recent expansion in vaccine development efforts at SVI, which is working with Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine to build a new center in Houston dedicated to developing vaccines for diseases of poverty.
"There is a significant need for greater funding to develop affordable vaccines that address the needs of the world's poor," said SVI president Dr. Peter Hotez. "The Gates Foundation — together with the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Brazilian Ministry of Health — is demonstrating a real commitment to Sabin's goal of breaking the cycle of poverty for millions of people by providing them with accessible and affordable NTD vaccines."