Nicole Stoffel of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom together with Pattanee Winichagoon of Mahidol University in Thailand will perform a double-blind randomized controlled trial to test whether providing iron-fortified food to iron-deficient women in Thailand improves their immune response to vaccination. Vaccines underperform in low- and middle-income countries, which may be caused by poor nutrition. Iron deficiency is common, and iron may play a key role in adaptive immunity and vaccine response. Preliminary data from their earlier study in Kenya showed that women given intravenous iron one week before a vaccine produced significantly more antibodies. To translate this to low-resource settings, they will perform a trial of 180 women in northeastern Thailand and provide half of them with a wheat-flour-based baked snack fortified with iron for forty days and test its effect on their immune response to two vaccine types: an intramuscular influenza vaccine and an oral typhoid vaccine.
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