A Phase 1 trail has been launched by researchers at Oxford University, in hopes to eventually produce a vaccine for the plague.
Although the plague has been widely eliminated worldwide, it still remains a lingering threat in other countries, mainly in the rural areas of Africa, Asia, Madagascar and even sometimes America, although very rarely. Despite more available treatments which can now combat the plague, there are still some cases where it can be life threatening. The pneumonic plague is almost always fatal, whilst the bubonic form has a 30-60% fatality rate and is still largely problematic for the local communities who encounter it. However, the new vaccine trial at Oxford University has its sights set on combating the problem.
The trial will consist of forty healthy adults between the age of 18-55, who will be split into three separate groups:
Group 1: One dose.
Group 2: Two doses.
Group 3: Two doses, with one increased dose.
All participants will be randomly allocated. Over a period of 12 months, experts will follow up with participants, taking samples to asses their immune responses. After this time period, the researchers will then continue to asses findings and results to analyse whether the vaccine produces an effective response against the plague.
Christine Rollier, Associate Professor of Vaccinology at the Oxford Vaccine Group, said: ‘Although antibiotics can be used to treat plague,many areas experiencing outbreaks are very remote locations. In such areas, an effective vaccine could offer a successful prevention strategy to combat the disease.’
If initial trails are successful, there is hope that the researchers could continue make progress with their research and devise an improved treatment plan for struggling communities. This would greatly benefit many rural communities who are trying to combat the disease on a regular basis.