Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) vaccines: Priority activities to enable product development, licensure, and global access

Ibrahim Khalil*, Richard Walker, Chad K. Porter, Farzana Muhib, Roma Chilengi, Alejandro Cravioto, Richard Guerrant, Ann Mari Svennerholm, Firdausi Qadri, Shahida Baqar, Margaret Kosek, Gagandeep Kang, Claudio Lanata, George Armah, Thomas Wierzba, Mateusz Hasso-Agopsowicz, Birgitte Giersing, A. Louis Bourgeois

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Diarrhoeal disease attributable to enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) causes substantial morbidity and mortality predominantly in paediatric populations in low- and middle-income countries. In addition to acute illness, there is an increasing appreciation of the long-term consequences of enteric infections, including ETEC, on childhood growth and development. Provision of potable water and sanitation and appropriate clinical care for acute illness are critical to reduce the ETEC burden. However, these interventions are not always practical and may not achieve equitable and sustainable coverage. Vaccination may be the most cost-effective and equitable means of primary prevention; however, additional data are needed to accelerate the investment and guide the decision-making process for ETEC vaccines. First, to understand and quantify the ETEC disease burden, additional data are needed on the association between ETEC infection and physical and cognitive stunting as well as delayed educational attainment. Furthermore, the role of inappropriate or inadequate antibiotic treatment of ETEC-attributable diarrhoea may contribute to the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and needs further elucidation. An ETEC vaccine that mitigates acute diarrhoeal illness and minimizes the longer-term disease manifestations could have significant public health impact and be a cost-effective countermeasure. Herein we review the ETEC vaccine pipeline, led by candidates compatible with the general parameters of the Preferred Product Characteristics (PPC) recently developed by the World Health Organization. Additionally, we have developed an ETEC Vaccine Development Strategy to provide a framework to underpin priority activities for researchers, funders and vaccine manufacturers, with the goal of addressing globally unmet data needs in the areas of research, product development, and policy, as well as commercialization and delivery. The strategy also aims to guide prioritization and co-ordination of the priority activities needed to minimize the timeline to licensure and use of ETEC vaccines, especially in in low- and middle-income countries, where they are most urgently needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4266-4277
Number of pages12
Issue number31
StatePublished - 13 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Childhood growth and development
  • Diarrhoeal diseases
  • Disease burden
  • Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC)
  • Vaccine research


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