Tested DNA vaccine against SARS successfully

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Tested DNA vaccine against SARS successfully

Amount of virus in the lungs a million times smaller

Scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have developed a vaccine against SARS and tested in mice. The vaccine was successful in reducing the amount of virus in the lungs of experimental animals.

A small piece of the virus DNA was used this to trigger an immune reaction of the body. Scientists hope in an article in Nature that experiments with human subjects can begin soon. According to the WHO 2003 8.098 people were infected with SARS between November 2002 and July. Worldwide died during this period 774 people.

Tested DNA vaccine against SARS successfully


SARS research

© CDC

The team developed the DNA vaccine based on a small piece of DNA encoding an envelope protein. This protein is usually located on the outer surface of the virus and thereby supports it to penetrate into living cells. Because the DNA of the vaccine only encodes the coat protein, there is no risk of infection with SARS. In addition, the scientists said DNA fragment modified slightly in order to minimize the Risk of recombination with the genetic material of the Sars or other Coronanavirus.

Most existing vaccines use killed or attenuated forms of a virus or bacterium to sensitize the immune system for the pathogen. The new, however, DNA vaccine stimulates the body to produce proteins that are very similar to those on the surface of the SARS virus. These proteins, in turn, generate an immune response that could be strong enough to detect the SARS virus and neutralsieren.

The scientists administered mice within six weeks three doses of the vaccine. A control group received an inactive vaccine. A month later, all the animals were infected with the SARS virus and determined after two days the amount of virus in the lungs of mice. Those animals that had received the active vaccine had a million times fewer virus particles. The vaccine led, som the result, in fact the production of antibodies that made the virus harmless.

(NIAID / PTE, 02.04.2004 - NPO)

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