In January 2024, experts from the Dr. Hideyo Noguchi Regional Research Center of the Autonomous University of Yucatán (CIR-UADY) and the Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) will begin Clinical Phase 1a studies of the therapeutic vaccine against the Chagas disease, to evaluate if it is safe to try on humans.
The head of the CIR-UADY Parasitology Laboratory, Vladimir Cruz, indicated that the biological based on a Tc24 recombinant protein, which will be applied to 60 healthy volunteer patients, originating or residing in Mexico City and preferably who have not lived in areas endemic for the disease.
He added that the samples taken from these volunteers will be transferred to the CIR-UADY parasitology laboratory to be analyzed in immunological assays during this first phase which will last one year.
“This could be the first therapeutic vaccine available worldwide against Chagas disease and is the result of collaborative work with institutions such as Cinvestav, BCM, and Tulane University and financing from the Carlos Slim Health Institute of almost close to 15 years; This vaccine candidate has gone through many experimental preclinical evaluations, fortunately he is a good candidate that has allowed us to scale up to clinical studies,” Vladimir Cruz added.
The research professor recalled that this biological was evaluated for the first time as a DNA vaccine in the CIR-UADY Parasitology laboratory approximately 15 years ago, under the responsibility of Dr. Eric Dumonteil. Preclinical studies in mice allowed us to determine the dose, the appropriate adjuvant, and the immunization schedules.
Regarding the fact that the test in humans has been achieved, he pointed out that it is of utmost importance since what scientists call the Valley of Death has passed, a stage in which 80% of the vaccine candidates are forgotten. for administrative or financial issues.
“We hope that everything goes well and that in the near future, we can have a vaccine against this disease that has affected the Yucatecan population and many other places of Latin America for a long time,” he concluded.
It is estimated that in Yucatán there are at least 60 thousand people infected with the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite, which causes Chagas disease. According to CIR-UADY specialists, these parasites remain hidden in the body without presenting clinical or physical signs, but over the years between 30 and 40 percent of patients develop some symptoms.
Generally, over the years, as a result of Chagas disease, abnormalities in the functioning of the heart and cardiomyopathies occur that can cause heart failure and death.