Researchers suspect that the number of people infected during the recent Midwest outbreak may be higher than first reported
Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University are trying to gain a better understanding of last summers monkeypox outbreak. The researchers traveled to the Midwest twice during the past few months to obtain blood samples from residents exposed to the disease. A third trip is planned for December. The samples will be used to better understand the human immune systems ability to fight monkeypox, information that will be critical for future vaccine development.
"The recent monkeypox outbreak in the Midwest provides a unique and important opportunity for medical research," explained Mark Slifka, Ph.D., assistant scientist at the OHSU Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute (VGTI) and an assistant scientist at the Oregon National Primate Research Center. Slifka is also an assistant professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology in the OHSU School of Medicine. "Blood samples provided by those infected with monkeypox and those who were exposed but remained illness-free can give us insight into how the human body fights off poxviruses, including the number one killer -- smallpox. Tracking immune responses as they occur is tremendously helpful not only in learning how to develop better vaccines, but in providing us an opportunity to observe firsthand how the immune system attacks and destroys an invading pathogen. Watching how these interactions unfold over time helps us to expand our basic understanding of this complex disease."
Jim Newman | OHSU
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