Terry H. Wu, Ph.D.
Research Associate Professor
Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Preventive Medicine
Center for Infectious Disease & Immunity
The University of New Mexico
Avisa Pharma, Inc. (STC Startup)
Tularemia, also known as rabbit fever, is a highly debilitating and potentially fatal zoonotic disease. The natural incidence in humans is low, but it is considered a high priority for biodefense because the bacteria responsible for this disease may be released intentionally to inflict harm on a large population. Veterinarians are also interested in this disease because household pets, including dogs and cats, can become infected through contact with infected wildlife or contaminated soil and water. Dr. Wu’s research focuses on technologies for improving diagnosis, prevention and treatment of tularemia.
Dr. Wu and his co-inventors at UNMHSC and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have developed a safe and effective subunit vaccine for tularemia. It has been shown in pre-clinical studies to protect against the most severe form of the disease acquired through inhalation of the bacteria. The subunit vaccine has a much better safety profile than live attenuated vaccines produced from the fully virulent, disease causing bacteria. This technology may be useful for other difficult to treat human and veterinary infectious diseases such as tuberculosis.
Dr. Wu was also involved in the development of a thermostable vaccine formulation that can facilitate long-term storage of live attenuated vaccines at elevated temperatures. This technology was initially conceived to help create a large supply of tularemia vaccine for the Strategic National Stockpile, but it is also critically important for vaccination efforts in third world countries without ready access to refrigeration. Dr. Wu is also a co-inventor of a breath test for point-of-care diagnosis of tularemia, which may improve clinical outcome by promoting early intervention.
PENDING U.S. PATENT APPLICATIONS (UNM-AFFILIATED)
Antigenic Combinations Against Francisella Bacteria and Related Nanolipoprotein Particles, Compositions, Methods and Systems
ISSUED U.S. PATENTS (UNM-AFFILIATED)
9,074,237 Method for Diagnosing Francisella Tularensis Infection, issued July 7, 2015
10,183,068 Vaccination Compositions, Methods of Making, and Methods of Use, issued January 22, 2019