VIDO scientist receives $620,000 to tackle respiratory disease

May 6, 2008

Dr. Sylvia van den Hurk, senior scientist at VIDO, has received $620,000 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to develop a needle-free vaccine for a respiratory virus that infects 65 million young children each year.

"Unfortunately, newborn infants, who constitute the major target group, are not only prone to infections, they also develop weak immune responses to most conventional vaccines," says van den Hurk.

Dr. van den Hurk is focusing on the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which can lead to reoccurring respiratory problems, such as asthma and pneumonia. There is no vaccine for RSV, the most common virus to cause respiratory infections in infants and small children. She is hoping to develop a vaccine specifically for this age group.