A unique partnership between Syracuse University and the Serum Institute of India could lead to better access to life-saving vaccines for children living in some of the most impoverished areas of the world. The Institute recently awarded $250,000 to a team of SU researchers led by Robert Doyle, assistant professor of chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences, to develop new oral vaccines against tetanus and rotavirus, a severe form of diarrhea that affects infants and young children worldwide.
Tetanus is caused by a toxin produced by bacteria naturally found in soil. The vaccine is only available by injection. While the disease is rare in the Western world, tetanus caused an estimated 257,000 deaths in low-income countries between 2000 and 2003, according to the World Health Organization's (WHO) latest report. A significant percentage involved infants born in predominately rural areas who were exposed to the tetanus bacteria during unsanitary delivery procedures. Likewise, infants and young children in these same countries have a much higher risk of dying from rotavirus than those living in Western nations. The disease killed an estimated 500,000 children in developing nations during 2004, according to a 2007 WHO report.
"We are very excited to be working with the Serum Institute of India on these projects," Doyle says. "This is a difficult area of research due to the nature of the molecules we will be working with. But, if we are successful, our work could have an enormously positive impact on the lives of people well beyond Syracuse University. This is truly scholarship in action."
Founded in 1966, the Serum Institute of India produces and supplies low-cost, life-saving vaccines for children and adults living in low-income countries. It is the world's largest producer of measles and diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DPT) vaccines. An estimated two out of every three immunized children in the world have received a vaccine manufa
|Contact: Judy Holmes|