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Experimental Vaccine Prevents Numerous Viral Infections

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By    |   Thursday, 12 Nov 2015 01:53 PM

American scientists have moved one step closer to developing a single vaccine that can protect people from infection by many different viruses.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified "broadly neutralizing" antibodies that protect against infection by multiple viruses — including Chikungunya virus — that cause fever and debilitating joint pain.

The discovery, in mice, lays the groundwork for a single vaccine or treatment against many different so-called “alphaviruses,” the investigators said in a report on their work, published in the journal Cell.

"There is a lot of emphasis on identifying and understanding broadly neutralizing antibodies for other viruses — HIV, hepatitis C virus, dengue virus, influenza virus — but most of those antibodies neutralize different strains of the same virus," said Dr. Michael Diamond, a professor of medicine and director of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Vaccine Development in the Center for Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Programs.

"What we've identified here are antibodies that actually neutralize several different alphaviruses."

The viruses Dr. Diamond and colleagues studied include mosquito-borne viruses that typically cause only sporadic outbreaks, although Chikungunya has been identified in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, and the southern United States.

As part of the study, funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, the researchers screened 60 antibodies against Chikungunya and determined that 10 react against three or more different viruses that cause arthritis-like symptoms.

"We have more work to do but are encouraged that [this] could be a viable strategy for developing vaccines or treatments against Chikungunya and other related viruses that cause significant disease worldwide," Dr. Diamond said.

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Scientists have moved one step closer to developing a single vaccine that can protect people from infection by many different viruses.
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Thursday, 12 Nov 2015 01:53 PM
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