Antigen discovery to accelerate Acinetobacter baumannii vaccine development

John Tregoning

Dr John Tregoning
Senior Lecturer
Imperial College London (UK)

Collaborators:

Prof Paul Kellam, Kymab Ltd (UK)
Prof Stephen Baker, Medicine, Cambridge and OUCRU Vietnam (UK & Vietnam)
Miss Sophie Higham, Imperial College London (UK)
Dr Stephen Reece, Kymab Ltd (UK)
Dr Aisha Krishna, Kymab Ltd (UK)

Summary

Untreatable infections caused by antimicrobial resistant bacteria are one of the major healthcare threats facing mankind. Most of these fatal infections occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where drug resistant bacteria are more prevalent. We are aiming to prevent infections caused by the bacterium Acinetobacter baumannii, a common cause of infections within hospitalised individuals; the disease has a very high mortality rate in Southeast Asia. One approach to tackle the problem of drug resistant Acinetobacter baumannii is to develop vaccines to prevent infection. In order to develop vaccines we need to understand how our immune systems see the bacteria, and to specifically identify which parts of the bacteria can be targeted by antibodies to prevent infection.

Our project is a collaboration between two leading academic institutions, Imperial College and the University of Cambridge, researchers in Vietnam and the biotechnology company Kymab. We will screen bacterial isolates collected from hospitals in Vietnam to find novel antigens. In particular we will be using infection models to determine whether these new vaccines can protect against infection. This work will provide a platform for future work to control this pathogen.