Highly infectious diseases pose both a public health threat and have application as a biological weapon. Sometimes called rabbit or deerfly fever, tularemia is naturally found in small mammals like rabbits, rodents, squirrels and the insects that feed on them. It’s transmitted by handling infected animal material, eating or drinking contaminated water, or inhaling the bacterium.
Despite decades of research, an effective vaccine has yet to be developed and brought to market. In a study funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, MRIGlobal conducted pre-clinical testing to determine the efficacy at 30 and 90 days of a promising new Live Vaccine Strain tularemia vaccine. Research focused on development of an immunoassay to test response to the vaccine, and studies to determine the duration and onset of protection. Continued studies will determine if the vaccine is effective at 360 days. Our research contributes to next phase of human clinical trials that could lead to FDA approval of a safe and effective vaccine.
IMPACT: A vaccine for tularemia can protect the general public and the military against a potential bioterrorism threat.