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Novartis' typhoid fever vaccine gains grant

The Wellcome Trust has awarded the Novartis Vaccines Institute for Global Health a €5.15m grant to develop a vaccine for typhoid fever

The Wellcome Trust has awarded the Novartis Vaccines Institute for Global Health (NVGH) a €5.15m grant to develop a vaccine for typhoid fever.

The grant will fund preclinical development and phase I and II studies for a vaccine against two potentially fatal illnesses, S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A. This new vaccine is required as current treatments for S. Typhi are not suitable for use in young children and infants, and S. Paratyphi A is the cause of 25 to 50 per cent of all typhoid cases.

"With more than 21 million cases of typhoid fever worldwide and more than 600,000 deaths each year, this disease is a serious global health issue, especially in the developing world," said Dr Daniel Vasella, chairman and CEO of Novartis. "The bivalent vaccine being developed by NVGH will use a novel approach to increase efficacy and address the needs of patients that other vaccines have not. This will ultimately have the potential to eradicate this disease."

The NVGH aims to have a product ready for clinical trials by 2010. The Wellcome Trust will provide project support, strategic oversight and expert advice.

Welcoming the initiative, Dr Ted Bianco, director of technology transfer at the Wellcome Trust said: "Partnerships between public and private sector research give us the best chance of effectively addressing the R&D needs of neglected diseases. The concept of developing a vaccine that can protect against both causative agents of typhoid fever makes great sense from a public health perspective, but requires a team of great skill to bring to fruition."

4th June 2009

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