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Space Research Could Lead to Salmonella Vaccine

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
September 9, 2009
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A vaccine to protect people against Salmonella, a deadly bacteria that often contaminates food processing operations, is headed for human testing following commercial development in zero gravity on the space shuttle and International Space Station.

Astrogenetix, the Austin, Texas based research company which funded the work, is in the process of applying to the Food and Drug Administration for human trials then, marketing of the space developed Salmonella drug.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that Salmonella annually sickens about 7 million people alone in the U.S., hospitalizing 20,000 and killing about 500-700 of its victims. The disease costs the food processing industry billions of dollars annually in protective measures. And every month the CDC is forced to temporarily close plants and compel the recall of food products that may be contaminated by Salmonella.

With the Salmonella results in hand, Astrogenetix is funding research specifically on STS-128 and future station missions to develop a vaccine for Mersa, a serious skin disease. The initial Mersa results are to be returned to Earth this week on board Discovery.

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