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Vaccine. 2007 May 4;25(18):3684-91. Epub 2007 Jan 23.

Transcutaneous immunization with the heat-labile toxin (LT) of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC): protective efficacy in a double-blind, placebo-controlled challenge study.

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  • 1Division of Infectious Diseases, Johns Hopkins University, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, 4940 Eastern Ave., Baltimore, MD 21224, United States.



An enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) vaccine could reduce diarrhea among children in developing countries and travelers to these countries. The heat-labile toxin (LT) of ETEC is immunogenic but too toxic for oral or nasal vaccines.


In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 59 adults were randomized to receive 50 microg of LT or placebo in a patch applied to alternating arms on days 0, 21, and 42. On day 56, 27 vaccinees and 20 controls were challenged orally with 6x10(8) cfu of LT+/ST+ ETEC.


100 and 97% of vaccinees had 4-fold increases in anti-LT IgG and IgA, and 100 and 90% developed IgG- and IgA-antibody-secreting cell responses. The study did not meet the primary endpoint: 82% of vaccinees and 75% of controls had moderate to severe ETEC illness. However, vaccinees with ETEC illness had lower numbers (6.8 versus 9.7, p=0.04) and weights of loose stools (840 g versus 1147 g, p<0.05), a decreased need for intravenous fluids (14% versus 40%, p=0.03) and a delayed onset of diarrhea (30 h versus 22 h, p=0.01).


Transcutaneous LT vaccination induced anti-toxin immune responses that did not prevent but mitigated illness following a high-dose challenge with a virulent LT+/ST+ ETEC strain.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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