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Safer way to Make Vaccines?

Thursday, 31 May 2012 12:34 PM

Oregon scientists say they have discovered a new method for creating vaccines that is safer and more effective than current manufacturing approaches.
The technique, published online in the journal Nature Medicine, uses hydrogen peroxide to inactivate viruses for use as vaccines. Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University's Oregon National Primate Research Center noted hydrogen peroxide is an effective antiseptic often used to sterilize medical equipment, but was believed to be too damaging to be useful in vaccine development.
But the research team determined that, in fact, peroxide may one of the best new approaches to future vaccine design. In the study, researchers led by Mark Slifka were able to generate three vaccines using the new technique.
"Most vaccines have an outstanding safety record," said Slifka. "It is important to keep in mind that no medical achievement has saved more lives than the simple act of vaccination. However, for many diseases, we have struggled to develop an effective vaccine. In other cases, vaccines may be protective, but come with rare but serious side effects.”
For instance, Slifka noted the live oral polio vaccine effectively stopped polio outbreaks and transmission after its introduction, but also caused eight to 10 cases of vaccine-associated polio in the United States each year until 2000. That year, the U.S. switched to a formaldehyde-fixed “dead” form of the vaccine and effectively eliminated those vaccine-associated cases.
“Our goal is to make vaccines like these safer and potentially even more effective by pioneering an entirely new approach to vaccine development," Slifka said.
For the study, researchers were able to develop vaccines to target West Nile virus, Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus and vaccinia virus (widely known for its previous use in the smallpox vaccine).
An Oregon-based biotech company, Najít Technologies Inc., is hoping that these advances in vaccine technology will produce new vaccines. The company, founded by Slifka and colleagues using methods first discovered at OHSU, hopes to create new and better vaccines for yellow fever, dengue hemorrhagic fever and other diseases.
The study was funded, in part, by the National Institutes of Health.

© HealthDay

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Scientists have discovered a safer, more effective method for creating vaccines.
Thursday, 31 May 2012 12:34 PM
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