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McMaster University researchers race to SARS vaccine development


Researchers at McMaster University have turned a corner in the race to develop a vaccine for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

A breakthrough has come with the work by professor Jim Mahony who cloned the gene that marks an important nuclear protein of the SARS virus. A research team at McMaster then inserted the nuclear protein gene into an engineered common cold virus, or adenovirus vector, and will shortly test this in animals for the protective effects.

The team, headed by Jack Gauldie, chair of the department of pathology and molecular medicine and director of the Centre for Gene Therapeutics, includes professors Frank Graham, Mary Hitt and Mahony of the department of pathology and molecular medicine, along with professor Ludvik Prevec and technologist Uma Sankar of the department of biology.

Mahony’s discovery was made using DNA sequence data from the SARS Vaccine Initiative (SAVI) of the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, one of several laboratories the McMaster team is working with to develop a SARS vaccine based on the adenovirus vector that would act as a carrier within the body.

The McMaster group is also working with the SARS Initiative of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) and the National Centres of Excellence in Vaccine and Immunotherapy (CANVAC).

"This is an important step that will allow

Veronica McGuire | EurekAlert!
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