Summary of Talk:
Many oral vaccines have a diminished vaccine efficacy in resource poor settings when compared to wealthy settings. This is particularly true for the rotavirus vaccine. Rotavirus (RV) is the leading cause of diarrhea-related death in children worldwide, and ninety-five percent of RV deaths occur in Africa and Asia where RV vaccines (RVV) have lower efficacy.
We hypothesized that intestinal microbiota composition influences vaccine immune responses, that RVV responders have different gut microbiota as compared to non-responders, and that these differences may contribute to the decreased RVV efficacy observed in Africa and Asia.
To test the hypothesis that the differential presence of immune-stimulating intestinal microbes influences RVV efficacy, we conducted two nested, case-control studies comparing the pre-vaccination intestinal microbiota composition between 6-week old RVV-responders and RVV-non responders in Pakistan and Ghana. I will discuss the results of these studies in the lecture.
Vanessa Harris is an infectious disease and adult internal medicine physician. She was born in the United States and received her Bachelor’s degree summa cum laude from Amherst College and her Medical Degree (MD) from Harvard Medical School.
She then moved to Amsterdam, the Netherlands where she completed her internal medicine and infectious disease training while working on a PhD studying the determinants of oral vaccine efficacy in resource poor settings and the infant intestinal microbiome, using a translational approach. She has received numerous awards during the course of her study, including a Fulbright fellowship.
In January of 2016 she moved to Shenzhen, China to support the ahti Global Network of Living Labs (GNLL). DKU is the lead partner in the China Living Lab. She is currently supporting a study proposal for evaluation of a bundled healthcare model intervention in the US, the Netherlands, Kenya, and China by capitalizing on the Living Lab network. The intervention, executed by DKU and Chongqing Medical University, would combine home-based hypertensive monitoring, real-time feedback to physicians as well as patient incentives, tailored for each countries patient population and health care system with the hope of improving hypertension control and decreasing hypertension treatment costs.