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First step towards new vaccine for childhood ear infections in Australia

09 August 2023 | News

An effective vaccine can drastically reduce cases of ear infections among children

Australia's University of Adelaide researchers have started work on developing a new vaccine that could help ward off painful ear infections in children.

The potential vaccine is in the initial stages of development in the lab and will target one of the main types of bacteria that cause middle ear infections, a common illness among infants and young children.

Ear infections are commonly caused by bacteria known as non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae and these infections can have devastating outcomes, such as hearing loss in children,” said Dr Erin Brazel from the University of Adelaide’s Research Centre for Infectious Diseases.

More than 80 per cent of children will experience a middle ear infection by the time they are three years old.

University of Adelaide researchers are working collaboratively with South Australian biotech company GPN Vaccines on the project. The team has previously worked together to develop a new universal pneumococcal vaccinewhich is currently in clinical trials.

Researchers believe an ear infection vaccine could also be used to target lung infections in adults that are caused by the same bacteria. The project is currently at an early stage, but researchers hope to commence human trials in the next three years.

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