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UM SOM SCIENTIST RECEIVES NIH GRANT FOR ACINETOBACTER BAUMANNII VACCINE DEVELOPMENT

The University of Maryland School of Medicine received a one-year bridge grant in the amount of $334,523 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to continue development of a live bacterial vaccine against Acinetobacter baumannii bacteria, which can lead to lethal pneumonia as well as serious soft tissue infections. The principal investigator for the research is James Galen, PhD, Professor of Medicine and faculty in the Center for Vaccine Development.

Referred to as “Iraqibacter” in media reports, these bacteria have widely impacted U.S. military personnel deployed in the Middle East and Afghanistan. They pose a significant threat to public health because of a steady rise in the frequency of multidrug-resistant pathogens. “We are attempting to immunize humans against several key outer membrane proteins present on the surface of A. baumannii,” said Dr. Galen, whose research for more than 15 years has focused on the construction of live-attenuated bacterial vaccines. “These pathogens are now resistant to almost all classes of antibiotics.”

UM SOM researchers are engineering targeted non-pathogenic proteins from A. baumannii to be expressed on the surface of a live attenuated bacterial vaccine, which is derived from a weakened non-pathogenic strain of Salmonella Typhi.

The grant number is 1R56AI125388-01A1.