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World's first vaccine for toxic shock syndrome in Vienna

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12:16 CEST+02:00
The world's first vaccine for toxic shock syndrome that can occur in women from using tampons has been developed by researchers at a Vienna university.

After testing the vaccine on 46 young men and women, scientists from MedUni Vienna's Department of Clinical Pharmacology found it was safe and effective and had practically no side effects, according to a report in Science Daily.

Toxic Shock Syndrome is the name for organ and circulatory failure caused by toxins in the body, first described in the 1980s.

Having occurred in women who used certain types of tampons, the syndrome became known as tampon disease and its discovery led to regulations being placed on super-absorbent tampons.

Around fifty percent of cases are associated with menstruation in young women but it can also affect those whose immune systems are already compromised, including dialysis patients, the chronically sick, and those recovering after heart operations.

In the UK, the family of a 14-year-old girl who died from Toxic Shock Syndrome after using a tampon for the first time started a campaign in 2013 to raise awareness of the issue. Natasha Scott-Falber died suddenly five days after she fell ill with what was thought to be the norovirus. Only afterwards did her family find out it was Toxic Shock was the cause.

The toxins are usually triggered by bacteria from the Staphylococcus group. The new vaccine was developed by the Vienna researchers from a detoxified Staphylococcus toxin and was tested in a clinical Phase I trial, the first stage of human testing.

The results of the trial were published in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases. Immunisation with the vaccine, which is injected, lasts about five years.

"We are well on the way to having a vaccine that prevents this series disease. However, it will still take some years before it is in clinical use," explains Martha Eibl, director of Biomedizinische Forschungsgesellscaft mbH, who are collaborating with the university on the project.

 

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