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Vaccines

Colorized negative stained transmission electron micrograph (TEM) depicting some of the ul...

Every year in the lead up to flu season, those at high risk of infection, such as the young, the elderly and those who are immune-compromised, head off to the doctor for a jab in the hopes it will protect them from the flu. However, influenza vaccines have a number of shortcomings that means even those who have been vaccinated may still get influenza. Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute and Dutch biopharmaceutical company Crucell have now found a broadly acting antibody that could lead to a single, near-universal flu vaccine to replace annually changing vaccines.  Read More

Micrograph showing prostatic acinar adenocarcinoma - the most common form of prostate canc...

Using a virus containing a ‘library’ of DNA, researchers from the University of Leeds in the U.K., working with the Mayo Clinic in the U.S., have developed a vaccine that was able to destroy prostate cancer tumors in mice, while leaving healthy tissue untouched. Because the virus contains multiple fragments of genes, the vaccine is able to produce many possible antigens thereby boosting its effectiveness. The technique could be used to create vaccines to treat a wide range of cancers, including breast, pancreatic and lung tumors.  Read More

Trials of a nasal spray to prevent the development of type 1 diabetes have been promising ...

A nasal spray vaccine currently being trialed in Australia could prevent the development of type 1 diabetes. Previous research showed that the nasal vaccine was successful in preventing the disease in mice, and now the results of a study involving 52 adults with early type 1 diabetes has provided encouraging evidence that it could also be effective in preventing the disease humans.  Read More

Immune cells, tagged with green fluorescent protein, are surrounded by nanoparticles (red)...

Vaccines work by exposing the body to an infectious agent in order to prime the immune system to respond quickly when it encounters the pathogen again. Some vaccines, such as the diphtheria vaccine, consist of a synthetic version of a protein or other molecule normally made by the pathogen, while others, such as the polio and smallpox vaccines, use a dead or disabled form of the virus. However, such an approach cannot be used with HIV because it's difficult to render the virus harmless. MIT engineers have now developed a new type of nanoparticle that could safely and effectively deliver vaccines for infectious diseases such as HIV and malaria, and could even help scientists develop vaccines against cancer.  Read More

The True Energy Vaccine Refrigerator can keep its contents cold for ten days without power

Any time there’s a prolonged power outage in warm weather, chances are that one of your first thoughts is “What’ll happen to all the food in my fridge?”. Well, imagine if instead of a week’s worth of groceries, your unpowered refrigerator was full of vaccines, vital to the well-being of an entire African village. In rural third world countries, power failures are common, as are high temperatures – not a great combination for things that need to be kept cold. Fortunately, some aid agencies have the option of using a True Energy Vaccine Refrigerator. It can store US$30,000 worth of medicine below 10C (50F) in 43C (109F) ambient temperatures, for over ten days at a time, without power.  Read More

Human virus cloning first, new vaccines could result

The cloning of human viruses may sound like the stuff of biological warfare, but breakthroughs in the area are helping in the development of antivirals and vaccines for life-threatening diseases. Now Welsh scientists have made the first complete copy of the virus Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) – a common infectious disease that is responsible for congenital malformations and potentially deadly to transplant patients or HIV/AIDS carriers.  Read More

The skin of certain frogs, including this foothill yellow-legged frog, contain secretions ...

While kissing a frog might not transform him into a handsome prince, his skin might one day save your life. Scientists in Abu Dhabi have discovered a method for using the natural substances found in frog skins to create a powerful new group of antibiotics with potential to fight against drug-resistant infections.  Read More

Dissolving microneedle vaccines: cheaper, less painful, less dangerous and more effective ...

Doctors have been using hypodermic needles for more than 150 years – but syringe vaccinations could be just about to be replaced by a simple patch you can stick on your arm with no medical supervision. The microneedle patches have an array of microscopic needles on them that penetrate the skin just deep enough to dissolve and deliver a vaccine without causing any pain. There's no sharp hazardous waste left over, they're no more expensive than a syringe, and most importantly, tests on mice are showing that microneedle vaccinations are significantly longer-lasting than deeper injections delivered by syringe.  Read More

The atomic structure of the antibody VRC01 (blue and green) binding to HIV (grey and red) ...

Research efforts to find individual antibodies that can neutralize HIV strains have been difficult because the virus continuously changes its surface proteins to evade recognition by the immune system. As a consequence of these changes, an enormous number of HIV variants exist worldwide. However, there are a few surface areas that remain nearly constant across all variants of HIV and scientists have now discovered two potent human antibodies that attach to one of these sites and can stop more than 90 percent of known global HIV strains from infecting human cells in the laboratory.  Read More

Robots plant a tiny seed into each circular plot on the tray - just one of the automated f...

H1N1, SARS and other pandemics, increasing antibiotic resistance to infectious diseases and even threats of biological warfare have reinforced the need for safe, effective and inexpensive mass vaccination programs. The answer may lie in nature, with plant-based vaccines. While traditional methods of vaccine production typically take months, the Fraunhofer Centers in the U.S., Boston University and iBio have developed a fully automated, scalable plant "factory" that can produce large quantities of vaccines within weeks.  Read More

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