Catia Mato Ferreira, PhD, global medical lead of Medical Affairs at Pfizer discussed the preventive potential of the C difficile vaccine that is currently in development in a phase 3 trial.
Although treatment options and strategies have been largely discussed, preventative measures have dominated the conversation at the 6th International C diff Awareness Conference and Health EXPO in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Focusing on 1 specific type of prevention— the C difficile vaccine in development by Pfizer—Catia Mato Ferreira, PhD, global medical lead of Medical Affairs at Pfizer, discussed the preventive potential of the vaccine that is currently in development in a phase 3 trial.
Interview transcript (modified slightly for readability):
MD Magazine®: How could a vaccine help prevent C difficile, especially at-risk populations?
“We talked about risk being an age continuum, so the [older] you are, the more likely you are to encounter C difficile and develop an infection.
The way the vaccine would help to prevent [C difficile] is if you find that optimum medium where you have the least amount of risk closer to that time that you need the vaccine. I talk about this because a vaccine is a preventative measure. It's an intervention that happens before the event actually takes place, so it helps you fight that infection.
That is important because when we look at the risk of C difficile in the US, individuals [aged] 50 [years] and above have a higher risk of developing the disease and; therefore, it is important to vaccinate them ahead of that time.
This vaccine will help not only prevent disease but will fight the toxins that cause the inflammation that leads to all those catastrophic events related to C difficile.
MD Magazine®: How does a vaccine provide better prevention compared to other preventative measures?
That's a critical question. I think I often [am] misunderstood. I don't think it's better than other interventions. Simple interventions, like washing your hands, are absolutely critical in stopping difficile.
Those have been happening in the past, and we managed to actually reduce the burden of C difficile quite dramatically by reducing the amount of antibiotics used, washing your hands, having better techniques in the hospital [and] in handling patients, being able to isolate patients with C difficile, but all of those [techniques] combined have not reduced the burden of [the] disease to an acceptable level.
There are still over half a million cases every year. There are over 29,000 deaths every year. The vaccine hopefully will help integrate [these] options and help reduce those numbers even further. That's our hope for the vaccine in the future if we manage to not only show that is effective, but [also] get the acceptability to accept the vaccine intervention and actually utilize the vaccine.”