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NEWS: GEMS Study Pinpoints Main Causes of Childhood Diarrheal Diseases, Suggests Effective Solutions

Sick Child

The Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS) is the largest, most comprehensive study of childhood diarrheal diseases ever conducted in developing country settings. Globally, diarrheal diseases are the second leading cause of death among children under five, despite the existence of effective interventions, such as oral rehydration solutions (ORS) and zinc supplements as general treatments. Many different bacteria, viruses and other pathogens can cause diarrheal disease. However, it has been difficult to prioritize and target interventions because previous studies cannot be easily compared or combined due to differences and limitations in the methods used. By studying more than 22,000 children (9,439 cases and 13,129 controls) across two continents with consistent methods, GEMS provides important, new data that will help researchers, policymakers, donors and advocates make evidence-based decisions to help to reduce the global burden of diarrheal diseases.

Visit the GEMS website to learn more about the study findings.

lancet 2  News Release | Fact Sheet | Country Specific-Fact Sheets | Infographic | Clinical Infectious Diseases Supplement 

The Center for Vaccine Development (CVD) has earned an international reputation as an academic vaccine development enterprise for creating and testing vaccines against cholera, typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever, non-typhoidal Salmonella disease, shigellosis (bacillary dysentery), Escherichia coli diarrhea, malaria, and other infectious diseases, including influenza.  

In addition to its research and outpatient facilities in Baltimore, Maryland, the CVD has fixed facilities to conduct clinical studies in Mali, West Africa, Malawi, Southern Africa and Santiago, Chile and undertakes time-limited field studies in many other countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The Center’s international staff includes molecular biologists, microbiologists, immunologists, internists, pediatricians, epidemiologists, malariologists, biostatisticians and informaticians.

The CVD is engaged in the full range of vaccinology from basic laboratory science research through vaccine development, early clinical evaluation, large-scale pre-licensure field studies and post-licensure assessments.  Mission priorities include:

  • Quantifying the relative disease burden of various pathogens and the range of serotypes or antigenic types through epidemiologic and seroepidemiologic studies.
  • Identifying virulence properties through studies of molecular pathogenesis to guide the construction of vaccine candidates.
  • Construction of candidate vaccines.
  • Assessing the suitability of putative candidate vaccines in pre-clinical studies, including relevant animal models.
  • Preparation of Investigational New Drug Applications (INDs) (or their equivalent) for submission to the FDA (or other National Regulatory Agencies) to pave the way for undertaking early (Phase 1 and 2) clinical trials. 
  • Evaluating the suitability of putative candidate vaccines in early (Phase 1 and 2) clinical studies including clinical acceptability, immunogenicity and (with live vaccines) shedding pattern and transmissibility to contacts.
  • Measuring human immune responses to vaccines including serum and mucosal antibodies, cell-mediated immune responses, B and T cell memory responses and immune cell homing patterns.
  • Preliminarily assessing the efficacy of certain vaccines (e.g., to prevent Shigella, enterotoxigenic E. coli diarrhea and malaria infection or illness) in small controlled challenge studies.
  • Evaluating the efficacy of candidate vaccines in pivotal large-scale, randomized controlled field trials.
  • Assessing the safety and impact (on diminishing disease burden) after licensure and large-scale (usually national) programmatic implementation of a vaccine in large populations.
  • Advising governments and international agencies on vaccine policy.
  • Training the next generation of both laboratory and clinical vaccinologists through structured training programs.

CVD Director

Kathleen Neuzil
Kathleen Neuzil, MD, MPH
CVD Director & Deputy Director of the IGH

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