Prof. Shimon Harrus did not intend to find the world's first vaccine against canine monocytic ehrlichiosis (CMT), a sometimes fatal tick-borne disease in dogs. Instead, he was attempting to determine how long ticks must be attached to a dog's fur in order to transmit CMT.
"I was using bacteria I cultured in my lab, and all of a sudden I realized the two dogs in our experiment did not become sick, and the ticks I put on the dogs did not become infected," Harrus told Israel21c. "Then we performed a big study and we realized something important was going on."
As outlined in a December article in the journal Vaccine, their research has continued to provide remarkable results in experiments conducted over the past few years by Harrus, who heads the University’s Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, and his research partner Prof. Gad Baneth.
CMT is the most common infectious disease in dogs, is prevalent worldwide and currently cannot be prevented aside from tick control. By assessing 12 dogs divided into three groups, Harrus and Baneth's research suggests that the new vaccine is safe and does not induce adverse effects; further research and funding is needed before the vaccine can be commercialized.
“The vaccine developed by Profs. Harrus and Baneth is the first vaccine to prove effective against this disease,” said Yaacov Michlin, CEO of Yissum, the Hebrew University’s technology transfer company. “The current lack of vaccine for CME, the growing awareness of the market and the growing market needs make this invention particularly attractive, and Yissum is currently looking for commercial partners for further development and commercialization purposes.”
To read the full article on Israel21c, click here.
To read the full report in Vaccine, click here.