The Human Hookworm Vaccine Initiative (HHVI) has identified and produced several candidates for potential use as a vaccine. Currently, two lead candidate antigens are being developed to stimulate the human immune system to produce antibodies that inhibit parasite blood feeding. Phase 1 clinical testing of the Na-GST-1 hookworm vaccine, began in January 2012. Currently clinical trials are being carried out in Minas Gerais, Brazil and Washington, DC. Na-APR-1 has also demonstrated unique protection against adult hookworm, and is undergoing process development with clinical testing scheduled to begin in late 2012. The human hookworm vaccine under development will ultimately incorporate both the Na-GST-1 and Na-APR-1 in a bivalent vaccine together with an adjuvant.
HHVI is focused on developing and testing a vaccine to prevent moderate to severe hookworm infection in children younger than 10-years-old living in endemic areas. The goal is to reduce the anemia, delayed physical growth, and impaired cognitive development caused by the hookworm infection.
Because hookworm affects only the world’s poorest people, Sabin PDP’s approach is filling an important market gap by developing an inexpensive vaccine with little or no traditional market value. Ultimately Sabin partners with vaccine manufacturers, such as FIOCRUZ and national health ministries in endemic and developing countries, to assist with bringing the product to market and developing effective distribution strategies.