Mireia López Siles
A vaccine to prevent hospital-acquired infections from an antibiotic-resistant bacterium
Mireia López Siles
Universitat de Girona, Spain
Klebsiella pneumoniae is a common intestinal bacterium that can cause potentially life-threatening infections. Its treatment is being compromised worldwide by its increasing resistance to antibiotics. It is a major cause of in-hospital pneumonia and septicaemia in people of all ages. Due to the multiple antibiotic resistance that some strains of this bacterium are developing, these treatments are no longer effective in a growing percentage of patients in different regions of the world. Hence, the WHO has identified Klebsiella pneumoniae as one of the most worrying resistant bacteria identified to date.
This project aims to prevent these infections with a vaccine, which would have an enormous social impact, both in health and economic terms. The project’s goal at this stage is to evaluate in vivo the protective capacity of KlebsiGene, a DNA vaccine previously developed by the Universitat de Girona and the Instituto de Salud Carlos III, and to improve its formulation. This vaccine includes two significant innovations compared to others currently in development. It uses antigens unexplored until now that target parts essential for the virulence and survival of the bacterium, and a DNA technology that incorporates elements to boost the patient's immune response.
The vaccination is expected to induce a robust immune response across broad target populations and to have an excellent safety profile. It could therefore be aimed at the general adult population, with particular emphasis on high-risk groups such as immunocompromised individuals and/or those enduring long stays in hospitals and healthcare centres. Furthermore, thanks to the flexibility of the technology employed, similar vaccines against other pathogens of clinical concern could be developed in the future.
Pre-clinical development of a DNA vaccine to elicit immunity against K. pneumoniae virulence factors