Diarrheal diseases remain a leading cause of mortality in the developing world mainly due to lack of effective vaccines. Entamoeba histolytic-a, an invasive protozoan parasite and causative agent of amebiasis is among the top 5 pathogens responsible for childhood diarrhea, and the second most common cause of diarrhea in returning travelers.
We are conducting preclinical studies to evaluate and optimize efficacy of a recombinant amebiasis vaccine. We have collaborated with the Infectious Disease research Institute, WA to develop liposome based adjuvants containing combination of synthetic TLR ligands suitable for future clinical trials. Adaptive immune response that is Th1 biased and the presence of anti-amebic mucosal IgA have been identified as correlates of protection in children. Our experiments are designed towards eliciting multifaceted immune response. Furthermore, we are assessing adjuvant potentials of Vitamin A and cytokines.
Another actively pursued project in the laboratory is intended to identify biomarkers predictive of Clostridium difficile disease severity. C. difficile is a major cause of health-care associated infections in the US. The long term goal of these studies is to develop adjunct therapies.