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Diarrhea vaccine shows promise, maker says

/ Source: The Associated Press

Vaccine developer Iomai Corp. said Tuesday that a midstage study of its patch-based travelers' diarrhea vaccine showed "statistically significant" data.

Travelers who received the company's vaccine were significantly less likely to be sickened compared with travelers who received a placebo, the company said.

Travelers' diarrhea is usually caused by unclean food or drink, and often occurs when traveling to foreign countries.

Iomai's vaccine has a so-called ETEC toxin, delivered via a skin patch using the company's immunization technology. The patch-based vaccine is designed to stimulate an immune response, Iomi said.

The study found that of the 59 individuals who received the patch-based vaccine, only three suffered moderate or severe diarrhea, while 23 of the 111 who received a placebo suffered moderate or severe diarrhea, a 75 percent reduction. One of the 59 volunteers in the vaccine group reported severe diarrhea, compared with 12 of the 111 in the placebo group, an 84 percent reduction.

Iomai, meanwhile, plans to begin a late-stage program for the vaccine in 2008.

This year, about 55 million international travelers will visit countries where bacteria that cause travelers' diarrhea are endemic, particularly Africa, Asia and Latin America. About 20 million of those travelers will develop travelers' diarrhea, the Gaithersburg, Md.-based company said.