Poo Guru talks sh*t at the VASE Conference with global experts on diarrhea vaccines

Dec 13, 2022


Signs of Poo Guru wisdom

“No diarrhea; more smiles.” “The answers are in the poop.” This and more poo-etic wisdom from our the VASE Conference attendees graced the open spaces between the poster presentations.

PATH recently hosted its third international Vaccines Against Shigella and enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (VASE) Conference in Washington, DC, on November 29 to December 1. With 270 attendees from more than 35 countries, it was the largest and most geographically diverse VASE to date! Participants included people working in all stages of vaccine development, from early discovery research all the way to implementation, as well as public health professionals, international donors, and other experts working on various aspects of enteric vaccines. After three full days at this unique and highly interactive scientific gathering, it’s clear that interest in the development and introduction of vaccines against Shigella, ETEC, and other neglected enteric pathogens is only continuing to grow.

At the VASE Welcome Reception, DefeatDD’s Ambassador, Poo Guru, made an appearance to help conference attendees spread the word about what drives them to do the work that they do. What do they want the world to know about diarrheal disease and the vaccines that can prevent it? Poo Guru and her conversational accessories were there to help! Here’s a sampling from the gallery:

Poo Guru with ORS and zinc signs

An ode to the cornerstone diarrhea treatment tools! Co-packaged oral rehydration solution and zinc improves awareness, access, and uptake of both medicines, which is the WHO/UNICEF recommended diarrhea treatment. Pictured: Robert Choy, PATH.


Poo Guru with a vaccine

Rotavirus vaccines won’t stop all infections, but their track record for preventing diarrhea deaths and keeping children out of the hospital is stellar. In fact, it’s one of child health’s great success stories. Now vaccine researchers have their sights set on the big bacterial offenders: Shigella and ETEC. Pictured: Tintu Varghese, CMC Vellore.


Poo Guru with handwashing sign

The best way to protect children is with an integrated approach! Water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and vaccines are essential public health basics for cholera, typhoid, diarrhea, and many other infectious diseases. Pictured: Mst. Fatema-Tuz Johura, Johns Hopkins University and icddr,b.


Poo Guru with conversation bubble text

When vaccines are delivered to everyone who needs them, they give everyone a fairer shot at a healthy life! The vast majority of deaths from diarrheal diseases occur in low- and middle-income countries. In the end, equity is the driving force behind this work. Pictured, left to right: Alexandra O’Neill, Pfizer, and Tori Rivera, Pfizer – but both are forever PATH staff in our hearts!


Poo Guru message about vaccine delivery

Vaccines don’t deliver themselves! Without funding, political will, and community engagement, even the best technologies will sit on a shelf. The return on investment: smallpox eradication (polio next?), and an incredible number of lives saved and suffering prevented. Pictured: Jean Sack, Johns Hopkins University.


Poo Guru with conversation bubble text

These powerhouse conference presenters kept us focused on the practical application of these vaccine technologies. Jessica Fleming, PATH (left), shared insights from country-level stakeholders on preferences for a potential Shigella vaccine (watch the DefeatDD blog in January for more on these findings!). As one of the keynote speakers, Kathy Neuzil, Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland, used the example of typhoid conjugate vaccine to illustrate common introduction challenges and opportunities that researchers should consider in the earliest stages of vaccine development.


If you missed the conference, don’t fret! You can still join the conversation on social media, using the hashtags #PooGuru and #DefeatDD. What wisdom do you have to share?