For those with serious chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who fear flare-ups, there’s new hope in the form of a promising experimental vaccine, according to study findings published in the journal Chest and reported by HealthDay News.

The vaccine is produced from the same bacteria responsible for meningitis in children. In people with critical cases of COPD, however, the vaccine works to soothe the severity, duration and frequency of flare-ups.

For the small study trial, researchers randomly chose 38 people with serious COPD. Scientists administered either the new HI-164OV oral vaccine or a placebo along with the best available treatment to participants.

Researchers found a 16 percent decline in overall COPD aggravations and a 63 percent reduction of moderate-to-severe irritations. In addition, scientists also noted that the average time of an aggravating COPD event lessened by 37 percent, that study participants experienced a 56 percent reduction in the need for antibiotic prescriptions, and that hospitalizations fell by 90 percent.

“It’s not an ideal study, but it is suggestive that using this novel oral vaccine can reduce the number of serious COPD exacerbations,” said Norman H. Edelman, MD, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association. “That’s a very significant finding and could be a very, very useful tool in the management of severe COPD.”

COPD, usually caused by smoking, is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.

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