David Fernando Rivero´s story is one of a young scientist who, after several years of research and enormous individual and team efforts, has achieved the desired results.
Rivero has developed a vaccine against a parasitic disease of global importance called giardiasis. The vaccine is not only a weapon in and of itself, but it also brings along with it the possibility to generate new tools for further application in different aspects of the biomedicine field.
Giardiasis, the cause of “traveler's diarrhea”, remains one of the most important parasitic intestinal infections in Africa, Asia and Latin America, Over 200 million cases of infection are recorded yearly according to WHO, and in these countries is a common cause of acute and/or persistent diarrhea amongst young children.
Knowing how the parasite giardia lambia survives within the host, whether it is an animal or a human, is the key to the development of preventive vaccines and drugs. The young Argentinean man and his team claim to have achieved this mechanism, which they believe coincides with the mechanism used by other parasites like the ones which cause malaria and Chagas disease. “Our development provides a basis for generating new strategies to fight these scourges of humanity,” says Rivero, who aims to extrapolate his formula to design new vaccines against these and other diseases as well as the reformulation of some preexisting vaccines to change its method of administration.
Rivero’s preventative vaccine also poses the advantage that it is administered orally, and has proven to be ”highly effective”. His vaccine is currently in an advanced stage of development according to Rivero, having already passed the animal experimentation stage, and after passing the control phase clinical trials with human patients will begin. According to Rivero, if the pace of work of each of the components is sustained over time, his vaccine could be available for human use in a couple of years. If the results match those observed so far in animals, its use “would generate a great impact on human health, achieving full control of one of the most prevalent parasitic diseases”.