The Bacillus subtilis, a bacterium that has attracted the attention of microbiologists for their ability to form spores that can persist for millions of years waiting for the appropriate environmental conditions to germinate, has inspired a new and useful method of storing and administering vaccines.
Professor Simon Cutting, School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway (University of London), found that the spores of Bacillus subtilis act as an ideal vehicle to transport antigens and stimulate an immune response.
Instead of having to be administered by needle, vaccines based on spores of this kind can be administered by a nasal spray or as liquid oral or capsule. Since spores are exceptionally stable, vaccines based on B. subtilis not require storage at low temperatures which do require quite conventional vaccines.
Besides eliminating the pain associated with needle injection, oral vaccines offer important benefits, including that his administration is safer because it avoids the risks associated with the use of hypodermic needles.
Professor Cutting and preclinical evaluation was based vaccine spores of this bacterium, and suitable against germs that cause various diseases, including tuberculosis, influenza (flu) and tetanus, and more recently has been investigating the potential of this type vaccine against a bacteria of particular importance: the Clostridium difficile.
Infection with C. difficile is an increasingly common problem in the world. This bacterium is pathogenic expert stomach become resistant to antibiotics, which implies that the number of effective antibiotics against it is declining. Only in the UK, are produced each year about 50,000 infections and 4,000 deaths due to this bacterium. Currently, there is no vaccine against this disease, and while they are undergoing clinical trials in several treatments, none is expected to provide full protection, so new ones are needed, possibly more effective.
To combat the C. difficile spores based vaccine may offer advantages not have the vaccines to be used in the traditional manner. That is because oral administration may cause a specific immune response in the gastrointestinal tract, able to completely eliminate C. difficile.