Cholera. A disease not many Americans are likely to think about outside of a 19th century history or literature class; however, cholera is a reality in many developing countries around the world, and the number of epidemics has increased over the past decade in areas affected by natural disasters, such as Haiti and Southeast Asia.
Cholera is an acute diarrheal illness caused by ingesting the bacterium, Vibrio cholerae, which can be present in contaminated food and water. Most morbidity and mortality is due to severe dehydration in patients without access health care and effective rehydration. According to the WHO, there are as many as 5 million cases and 120,000 deaths attributed to cholera annually.
At present, there are two vaccines available to prevent cholera. Both require multiple doses and neither is licensed in the United States for travelers to cholera-endemic areas.
The University of Vermont Vaccine Testing Center (UVM VTC) is hoping to change that by participating in several phases of testing a single, oral dose vaccine against cholera. The first study was a Phase 3 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled vaccine-challenge trial conducted here at University of Vermont and two other sites in the United States from Fall 2013 to Spring 2014. This study looked at vaccine safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy in the 18-45 year-old age group. Our current study is a Phase 3 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial evaluating vaccine safety, tolerability, and immunogencity in the 46-64 year-old age group.
We at the UVM VTC are very excited about our continued work on much needed vaccines that affect our global community.
For more information, or if you are interested in participating in the study, please contact the UVM Vaccine Testing Center at 656-0013 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website at www.uvmvtc.org.
Caroline Lyon, MD, is a hospitalist in Primary Care Internal Medicine at the University of Vermont Medical Center. She is also an assistant professor at the Larner College of Medicine at UVM.