Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

West Nile virus: Therapeutic vaccines

04.11.2008
Researchers are developing a DNA-based vaccine against the dreaded West Nile virus (WNV), which can be transmitted from animals to humans. The unique feature of this vaccine is that it is also effective after onset of the disease, for it has therapeutic properties.

SARS, avian flu, Ebola – outbreaks of deadly viral infections are becoming increasingly frequent. And we still don’t have vaccines for many of the pathogens responsible. One of the most dangerous classes of viral diseases is the zoonosis, which can be transmitted from animals to humans with sometimes fatal consequences.

One of these is caused by the West Nile virus (WNV), which was first identified in Uganda in 1937. The virus was carried to the United States in 1999 and had spread through the whole of North America within five years. There is now a risk that it will propagate worldwide. Since its first appearance in the United States, around 400 people have died there after coming into contact with the West Nile virus. A new vaccine promises to provide protection.

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI in Leipzig have developed the DNA vaccine. “In this type of vaccine, DNA molecules known as plasmids extracted from the pathogen are used for inoculation, instead of the whole virus. They contain the genetic code for the antigens that stimulate the body to produce antibodies. We can thus replicate the virus’s natural infection route without actually triggering the disease,” explains Dr. Matthias Giese, the IZI’s head of vaccine development. Conventional methods of vaccination involve injecting a dead or weakened form of the pathogen into the patient’s body, which responds by producing the corresponding antibodies and developing immunity to the disease. An alternative is to inject a serum that already contains these antibodies. Such vaccines are merely preventive. By contrast with live vaccines, which carry a risk of provoking the disease, DNA vaccines are absolutely biologically safe. Moreover, they activate all existing defense mechanisms in the body, are cheap to produce and can be stored without a refrigerator – which makes them ideal for use in subtropical and tropical climates.

“Since the human immune system is very similar to that of other mammals, we are developing a cross-species vaccine for use in both veterinary and human medicine. And unlike conventional vaccines, DNA vaccines can be used both as prophylactics and as therapeutics, i.e. in cases where the disease is already present,” says Dr. Matthias Giese, citing the further benefits. The WNV vaccine has already passed initial tests. Giese expects the laboratory research to be completed by the end of 2009. After that, another 3 years or so will be needed for the approval procedure including clinical trials. Then, it is hoped, the world’s first therapeutic WNV vaccine will be ready for market.

Dr. Matthias Giese | alfa
Further information:
http://www.izi.frauhofer.de
http://www.fraunhofer.de/EN/press/pi/2008/11/ResearchNews112008Topic3.jsp

Further reports about: Cell Therapy DNA DNA-based vaccine Ebola NILE SARS Therapeutic vaccines Virus WNV West Nile virus avian flu zoonosis

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Closing in on advanced prostate cancer
13.12.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

nachricht Visualizing single molecules in whole cells with a new spin
13.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease

13.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>