The protective power of vaccines against diarrhea

Oct 09, 2017


Hope Randall
Communications Officer, DefeatDD

Nicole Maier, clinical trial coordinator for PATH’s enteric vaccine portfolio, said she got choked up while watching our latest video for the first time. Why? I sat down with her to hear more about her personal take on the video.



Talk to me about why you got emotional watching this video.


You know, it just makes everything about organizing clinical trials, from the stressful to the monotonous, worthwhile in the end. I am removed from the implementation and don’t interact with the subjects directly, and I know the result of my work in theory, but this just crystallizes it. And this is my first time seeing the implementation of a trial I worked on in this age group. It was a small detail, but I was excited to see the doctors filling out the forms because I’d helped put them together. You don’t always get to see the fruits of your labor.


What struck me is that it’s not what you expect when you think of clinical research. The warmth of the study team and the engagement of the participants really comes through. 


Dr. Rubhana Raqib and the whole icddr,b study team went completely above and beyond to adhere to the rigorous standards of trial implementation, but my favorite part was seeing how well they took care of the trial participants. Rubhana and her team provided a toy for each child and even made a game to see who could drink the vaccine the fastest! The children colored pictures during the immediate post-vaccination observation period and Rubhana posted them on the wall, and I thought it was great that one girl drew a picture of herself drinking the vaccine!

Boy playing with truck in a hospital room


You really get the sense that the kids are embracing the activities, too, and understand on some level why their participation is important. And the mothers certainly understand; they deal with these vaccine-preventable diseases all the time. There is an element of community motivation around research like this that this video certainly highlights.


Why is this an exciting time in enteric vaccine research?


Rotavirus vaccine is a classic example of a successful public health milestone we can learn a lot from and sets the benchmark for future enteric vaccines. PATH has a lot of experience with rotavirus vaccine research, and that in-house expertise is very helpful for developing new enteric vaccines against other leading pathogens like ETEC and Shigella. I feel optimistic about the potential for these new products in the pipeline. I am so focused on the nitty gritty details of trial implementation that I sometimes lose sight of the bigger picture. Moments like these reinvigorate my enthusiasm and remind me who this work is ultimately for.