Sabin Vaccine Institute President Dr. Peter Hotez is leading the research at Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine to develop the first-ever vaccine for Chagas disease. Approximately 18 million people worldwide are affected by the disease, mostly in parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, and can also be found in parts of North America. Caused by the parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi), Chagas is transmitted by a bite from the vanchuga bug, and can lead to heart disease and digestive complications.

Having recently moved to Houston, Texas to take his position as dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor, Dr. Hotez announced last week that he is in the preliminary stages of research for a Chagas vaccine, where then the development of the vaccine will take place at the Sabin Vaccine Institute & Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development. The announcement came in response to an Austin-American Statesman article that discussed Chagas incidence in Texas, which is thought to be much higher than reports suggest. Take a look at the excerpt below or read the full story on the Statesman blog Salud!.

"Responding to an article we published today about little-known Chagas disease, the Sabin Vaccine Institute & Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development in Houston informed us that one of its nationally known doctors is working on a vaccine.

Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor and president of the Sabin institute (a partnership with Texas Children’s Hospital), said his research is in the early stages. It could take a decade for his vaccine to be available, if all goes well. Researchers in other countries also are working on a Chagas vaccine.Chagas is a serious disease that is common in Latin American but is believed to be a greater threat in Texas than previously thought to dogs and people, based on research done by University of Texas Professor Sahotra Sarkar."