TASC Research Services

TASC Research Services

November 13, 2007 09:30 ET

TASC Research Services: New Vaccine Is Needed to Protect Children From "Super Bug", a Germ That Is Immune to Antibiotics

Research study of new Prevnar vaccine, hoped to cover resistant super bug strain, is underway

SURREY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 13, 2007) - Recent reports about an antibiotic-resistant super bug that can cause acute ear infections, permanent hearing loss, pneumonia and meningitis in children have parents searching for ways to protect their babies.

The super bug is a particular strain of the streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, which cannot be combated with any antibiotics that are currently approved for use in infants and children. Children two years old and under are at the greatest risk.

The emergence of the super bug is due to the improper use of antibiotics, and over prescribing of antibiotics when unnecessary. "Antibiotics must be taken exactly as prescribed," says Dr. Paul Zickler, physician and Principal Investigator at TASC Research Services. "When a patient stops taking antibiotics prematurely, takes half the recommended daily dosage or takes antibiotics unnecessarily, then bacteria can build up a resistance to the antibiotic. This is how a super bug is created."

An existing vaccine called Prevnar is routinely given to infants starting at two months of age to safely protect them against seven strains of bacteria. But the super bug strain, identified as 19A, is not one of them. Fortunately, the makers of Prevnar have developed an investigational Prevnar vaccine that is hoped to cover six more common strains, including the antibiotic-resistant 19A strain. Once clinical studies are complete, the new Prevnar is expected to be available in 2009.

In the meantime, parents who are concerned about the effect of the super bug on their children may be interested in helping to further the Prevnar study along. An important research study of the next generation of Prevnar vaccine is currently underway at TASC Research Services. "The study's success could be a major step forward in gaining approval of a vaccine that could effectively protect children against the super bug," says Zickler.

TASC is looking for healthy infants, six to 14 weeks of age, who have not yet been vaccinated, for the study. Previous studies have shown the reactions were similar to those seen with the Prevnar vaccine. Enrollment will end mid-December. Parents of qualifying infants can contact TASC at 604-584-8889 or tasc@tascresearch.com for information on the super bug, or to talk to a registered nurse about enrolling in the study.

"It can take years for a vaccine to be approved for public use. Research studies are one of the first steps in the process. The sooner we get the next generation of Prevnar approved, the better it will be for our young patients and their anxious parents."

TASC Research Services Inc. is a privately owned company that has been involved in vaccine research in British Columbia since 1974. TASC has conducted over 100 Phase I - IV clinical trials with more than 20,000 subjects ranging from infants to seniors. These trials have played a major role in the licensing of important vaccine products in Canada and other countries.

TASC's highly qualified team consists of registered nurses, clinical research co-coordinators, research assistants and office support staff under the direction of Principal Investigators (physicians who are experts in the field being researched).

For more information, and for a "Superbug fact sheet", "Company fact sheet", please contact Alison Orth at the numbers below.

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