Eight in 10 children get at least one ear infection by the time they turn three, but scientists at Nationwide Children's Hospital have developed a vaccine that could stop that trend. One drop of a vaccine currently in lab testing is rubbed onto the outside of the ear to stop infections before they even start.
FROM MEDIASOURCE: Even when she’s well, little Cammy Barber doesn’t like getting her ears checked - and for good reason. She’s only nine months old and has already had eight ear infections. And her mom, Coleen Barber, will tell you, treating them isn’t always easy.
“The shots are awful to see the child have to get, but even the medicine alone, they don’t like the flavor of it, at this age, it’s hard to sneak it into anything,” says Coleen.
So scientists at Nationwide Children’s Hospital are working on an alternative involving just a single drop of liquid. A drop that’s not injected or even swallowed, but simply rubbed onto the outside of the ear. And best of all, it’s a vaccine designed to stop ear infections before they ever start.
Experts say it could someday help kids everywhere, especially those with no other alternatives. And lab test are promising.
“It was extremely effective. So we’re very excited about the ability to maybe immunize without needles and deliver this vaccine to the poorest children in the world,” says Lauren Bakaletz, PhD, a researcher at Nationwide Children’s hospital who developed the vaccine.
Dr. Bakaletz says it works by activating cells just under the surface of the skin, called dendritic cells. When this liquid touches the skin, it touches off a response throughout the body.
“These cells deliver it to the lymphoid organs where it can generate an immune response. So really harnessing a power that’s there all the time, but you’re doing it in a way that’s now directed toward a specific disease,” says Dr. Bakaletz.
Dr. Bakaletz, who is also with the Ohio State University, says work still needs to be done before the vaccine is tested on kids - but it someday could help babies like Cammy live more care-free, pain-free lives.
It is estimated that 83% of all kids get ear infections before their third birthday** and another child gets an ear infection every 2.3 seconds in this country.* In fact, it is the number one reason kids are taken to the emergency department.**
*New Vaccines Against Otitis MEdia: Projected Benefits and Cost-effectiveness, Pediatrics, Vol. 123 No. 6, June 2009, retrieved from: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/123/6/1452
** A Novel Transcutaneous Immunization Regimen Elicits a Mucosal and Systemic Immune Response That Confers Protection Against Nontypeable Haemophilus Influenzae-induced Otitis Media, Laura Novotny, Lauren Bakaletz, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s
Soderstrom Skin Institute is positioned to be a comprehensive, full service skin care facility. Visit www.soderstromskininstitute.com to learn what Soderstrom Skin Institute can do for you.