Image copyright Getty Images Image caption New E.coli vaccines were introduced in Europe in 2014 after a
Healthy children in the United States have been given a fresh start after an advisory panel unanimously recommended that the first oral E.coli vaccine be made available in the US.
The CXA3 vaccine was tested in clinical trials on boys and girls from five to 11 years old.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans to approve the drug by June.
In October, European countries began offering the vaccine to children between five and 11.
England has yet to make the vaccine available after advice from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice).
The vaccine is about six times more effective than those already available, said doctors at a panel meeting in New York, which was broadcast to all of the US and Canada.
“It’s absolutely a game changer,” said Dr Scott Harris of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who chaired the meeting.
Image copyright FDP Image caption The CXA3 vaccines are being developed by Pfizer
He said the vaccine was “virtually a cure” for developing complications from the infection which can result in death.
“Children who have had undetected E.coli infections now can be restored with antibiotics” he said.
The new version is made up of two different peptides, or protein fragments, to stimulate the immune system.
“And that’s got a unique delivery system, because it’s not just a few hits of the vaccine into the colon… you deliver a delivery system and actually shock it and get the immune system to bind that way… not just overwhelm it,” said Dr Seth Berkley, of Pfizer.
In the earlier clinical trials, the vaccine was more effective at reducing cases of E.coli infections in both the five and the 11 to 15 age group, he said.
Those ages five to 15 are some of the most severely affected by E.coli when they become infected.
New ‘recruitment system’
Critics have suggested that the tough age range is now out of scope for the vaccine in the EU.
When the first version of the vaccine was developed, there was little data on E.coli in boys in that age group because of a dearth of them.
Dr Harris said to give the vaccine to young boys would make a “harbinger” for future products for girls in the future.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said in a statement it would consider the recommendation once the FDA’s decision has been published.
And there were indications that many other countries – including the UK – are considering whether to take up the vaccine in their own future policy.
“I am convinced now that we’ll see boys being vaccinated. There’s no other natural way to prepare for a (future) pandemic,” said Dr Harris.
Children in England are currently offered vaccines against Hepatitis B, rotavirus and influenza.
There is growing enthusiasm for measures to stop the spread of diseases, or to lessen the severity, but the vaccine currently on the market, by Sanofi Pasteur, is against E.coli, Salmonella and Listeria.