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Dr Panjaporn Chaichana

Dr Panjaporn Chaichana

Panjaporn Chaichana

Postdoctoral Immunologist

Melioidosis at MORU

Melioidosis is a major cause of fatal community-acquired sepsis in northeast Thailand, with more than 1000 deaths annually, and is increasingly diagnosed worldwide with 89,000 deaths per year predicted. It is caused by the intrinsically antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative bacillus Burkholderia pseudomallei (Bp), which is classified as a category B agent by CDC. The majority of fatal melioidosis cases have at least one underlying immune defect such as diabetes, renal disease, alcohol excess or advanced age. In Thailand the in-hospital mortality rate is around 40% even when treatment with an appropriate antibiotic is started in admission. Therefore development of effective vaccine and therapy for high risk groups is urgently required.

Protection conferred by most successful vaccines rely on antibody-mediated mechanisms. A greater understanding of the role of antibodies and the mechanisms of protective rather than bystander humoral immunity in melioidosis is important for developing novel antibody-based vaccines and therapies. A crucial role for protective antibodies against fatal melioidosis has been demonstrated in animal models. However, there is a lack of data on protective antibody responses in human melioidosis.

My research focus is to study the functional roles of antibodies in melioidosis for developing antibody-based vaccines.