Efficacy of an Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) Vaccine on the Incidence and Severity of Traveler’s Diarrhea (TD): Evaluation of Alternative Endpoints and a TD Severity Score

Nicole Maier*, Shannon L. Grahek, Jane Halpern, Suzanne Restrepo, Felipe Troncoso, Janet Shimko, Olga Torres, Jaime Belkind-Gerson, David A. Sack, Ann Mari Svennerholm, Björn Gustafsson, Björn Sjöstrand, Nils Carlin, A. Louis Bourgeois, Chad K. Porter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The efficacy of an Oral Whole Cell ETEC Vaccine (OEV) against Travelers’ Diarrhea (TD) was reexamined using novel outcome and immunologic measures. More specifically, a recently developed disease severity score and alternative clinical endpoints were evaluated as part of an initial validation effort to access the efficacy of a vaccine intervention for the first time in travelers to an ETEC endemic area. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial followed travelers to Guatemala or Mexico up to 28 days after arrival in the country following vaccination (two doses two weeks apart) with an ETEC vaccine. Fecal samples were collected upon arrival, departure, and during TD for pathogen identification. Serum was collected in a subset of subjects to determine IgA cholera toxin B subunit (CTB) antibody titers upon their arrival in the country. The ETEC vaccine’s efficacy, utilizing a TD severity score and other alternative endpoints, including the relationship between antibody levels and TD risk, was assessed and compared to the per-protocol primary efficacy endpoint. A total of 1435 subjects completed 7–28 days of follow-up and had available data. Vaccine efficacy was higher against more severe (≥5 unformed stools/24 h) ETEC-attributable TD and when accounting for immunologic take (PE ≥ 50%; p < 0.05). The vaccine protected against less severe (3 and 4 unformed stools/24 h) ETEC-attributable TD when accounting for symptom severity or change in activity (PE = 76.3%, p = 0.01). Immunologic take of the vaccine was associated with a reduced risk of infection with ETEC and other enteric pathogens, and with lower TD severity. Clear efficacy was observed among vaccinees with a TD score of ≥4 or ≥5, regardless of immunologic take (PE = 72.0% and 79.0%, respectively, p ≤ 0.03). The vaccine reduced the incidence and severity of ETEC, and this warrants accelerated evaluation of the improved formulation (designated ETVAX), currently undergoing advanced field testing. Subjects with serum IgA titers to CTB had a lower risk of infection with ETEC and Campylobacter jejuni/coli. Furthermore, the TD severity score provided a more robust descriptor of disease severity and should be included as an endpoint in future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2414
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • ETEC
  • enteric vaccine
  • severity score
  • traveler’s diarrhea


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