Global Health Research in the National News

This week, (13.2.18), NRK’s Daily News Update (21:00) reported on an important Global Health vaccine story from Bergen, with UiB and Haukeland researchers.

Every year 1000s of children in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) die of diarrhea. Norwegian researchers are in the final stages of developing a vaccine that they believe will save many lives.

To test the vaccine, student volunteers in Bergen have been infected by E. coli. The students began by drinking a sample containing about 1 billion bacteria. They were hospitalized at Haukeland University Hospital for about a week during the test period. 

One of the volunteers explained that it took a couple of days before she became sick. An E. coli-based infection on a healthy young person in Norway can be unpleasant, but not deadly as it would have been for an undernourished child living in LMIC.

It is one thing to design a potential vaccine. In order for it to save lives, it must first be tested. There are ethical issues involved. The researchers explain that it goes against fundamental ethical principles to willingly make people ill. However, the clinical testing involving these volunteers will hopefully lead to the final licensing.

The students volunteers were a little proud to have contributed to a project that has the potential to help so many.

Researchers involved included: Kurt Hanevik and Anne Hatløy

See the story on NRK