Melioidosis antigen proves effective in testing

Officials with Immunovaccine Inc. recently announced the results of a study testing the effectiveness of a melioidosis antigen in its DepoVax Immunovaccine's vaccine.

Dr. Marc Mansour, vice president of research and development at Immunovaccine Inc., said that the study was a collaborative effort between his company and Defense Research and Development Canada, which is an agency that deals with the scientific and technological needs of the Canadian national security community.

Mansour said that melioidosis is of interest to researchers in the security sector because of its potential as a bioterrorism agent. Melioidosis is a fatal bacterial infection that is derived from Burkholderia pseudomallei.

The study showed that two doses of the combination Melioidosis-DepoVax vaccine provided 100 percent protection against infection when compared to three doses of a control vaccine that only provided partial protection.

“We are encouraged by these results that demonstrate the broad applicability of our vaccine formulation technology,” Mansour said.

Melioidosis is found in contaminated soil and water and has a 40 percent mortality rate. There is currently no melioidosis vaccine. It can cause a variety of illnesses in humans ranging from acute pneumonia to septicemia.

The Department of Health and Human Services has identified melioidosis as a potential terrorist threat and has made medical countermeasures a top priority.