IMPRINT pump priming project N°5: Oral vaccines which generate immune responses in the vagina and prevent mother-to-baby transmission of infections during birth

January 18, 2018

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Summary:

The ultimate aim of our work is to develop vaccines that will be taken by pregnant women and which will then protect babies from catching infections caused by, for example, HIV, hepatitis B and Zika, during birth.  The vaccines will be taken by mouth, but will have their effects in the mother’s vagina.  The oral route of vaccine taking has been chosen as this route is expected to have higher acceptability and be cheaper than injections, which have to be sterile, need to be given by medically-trained personnel and can be painful.  The cost factor is especially relevant in LMIC, for poorer people and where healthcare costs are largely borne by individuals, rather than the state.

For oral vaccines to have an influence in the vagina, they have to be prepared using specific chemicals, such that once a vaccine is swallowed, it is only processed in the large bowel (and nowhere else in the gut).  In this project, we will: i) identify those chemicals, ii) prepare the vaccines, and iii) test whether the prepared vaccines will be processed in the large bowel following swallowing.  

The results of this study will be used to apply for follow-on funding to determine whether such vaccines will have an influence in the mother’s vagina and protect newborns during birth.

Project lead:

Dr Sudaxshina Murdan

Reader in Pharmaceutics

UCL School of Pharmacy

University College London

London, United Kingdom

IMPRINT partners:

Prof. Abdul Basit, University College London, United Kingdom

Dr Fatme Mawas, National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, MHRA, United Kingdom

Project duration: 8 months

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