The Human Hookworm Vaccine Initiative (HHVI) has identified and produced several candidates for potential use as a vaccine. 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 hookworm infection.
Currently, two lead candidate antigens are being developed to stimulate the human immune system to produce antibodies that inhibit parasite blood feeding: Na-GST-1 and Na-APR-1.
Na-GST-1: 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: Na-APR-1 has also shown protection against adult hookworm in preclinical studies. Clinical testing began in September 2013.
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. Sabin partners with private, academic and public institutions in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), Australia, the United States and Europe to collaborate on preclinical studies, vaccine manufacturing and clinical testing.
The Sabin PDP is a member of the HOOKVAC consortium, led by the Academic Medical Center (AMC) at the University of Amsterdam, which has been awarded a grant from the European Commission to expand the development and testing of this vaccine. Under this grant, the HOOKVAC consortium will begin the first clinical testing of the human hookworm vaccine in sub-Saharan Africa in the nation of Gabon. The consortium will also engage European small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to manufacture and co-formulate the two vaccine antigens, Na-GST-1 and Na-APR-1, into a single bivalent product for use in future Phase II/III clinical testing.