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Vaccines Get Stronger

Posted: October 11th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Passport Health Sarasota-Bradenton Announcements, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Vaccines Get Stronger

Researchers at Oxford University discovered a compound that gives vaccines a little extra might in the fight against viruses such as the flu, HIV and herpesin mice.

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(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mice given a dose of the flu shot that included the polymer, polyethyleneimine (PEI), were protected fully against a lethal dose of the flu.  Formulas without the adjuvant or with different adjuvants didn’t show nearly as positive results.  The Oxford scientists, working with U.S. and Swedish researchers, will soon test the PEI adjuvant on ferrets.

“Gaining complete protection against flu from just one immunization is pretty unheard of, even in a study in mice,” said professor Quentin Sattentau of the Dunn School of Pathology at Oxford University, who led the work.  “This gives us confidence that PEI has the potential to be a potent adjuvant for vaccines against viruses like flu or HIV, though there are many steps ahead if it is ever to be used in humans.”

The most popular adjuvant is alum, an aluminum-based compound. But it’s not the most potent.  However, mice showed a powerful immune response when PEI was included in a vaccine with a protein from HIV, flu or herpes virus.  PEI works well as an adjuvant for mucosal vaccines, those absorbed through the nose or mouth.  This is good news for those who dread needles.

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Breakthrough in the Search for a Malaria Vaccine

Posted: September 20th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Passport Health Sarasota-Bradenton Announcements | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Breakthrough in the Search for a Malaria Vaccine

Researchers atAustralia’s Burnet Institute discovered a prime target in the immune system’s battle against malaria, marking a turning point in the search for a vaccine.

Malaria distribution map. Most countries with ...

Malaria distribution map. Most countries with a high distribution of malaria also have a high distribution of parasitic worm infections. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Studies show people immune to the disease develop antibodies that home in on a protein known as PfEMP1, produced by Plasmodium falciparum, the organism behind most cases of malaria, according to Medical Xpress. The findings prove valuable in determining for which malaria proteins–known as variant surface antigens–a vaccine should aim. The study also showed that when the immune system takes action against other proteins produced by malaria, it does not effectively protect the body, further underscoring the need for a vaccine to seek out the appropriate target.

“The new findings support the idea that a vaccine could be developed that stimulates the immune system so that it specifically mounts a strong response (or attack) against the PfEMP1 protein that malaria produces,” James Beeson, senior author of the study, tells Medical Xpress.

More than 40% of the world’s population live in areas where there is a risk of contracting the mosquito-borne illness, which will make developing a vaccine both profitable to the manufacturer and beneficial to world health. Nearly 1 million individuals die of malaria each year, according to the NIH.