Self-destructing vaccines may be wave of the future

7/8/2008

WASHINGTON According to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a new type of vaccine may offer a new way to protect against a range of diseases, as reported by Reuters.

The researchers genetically engineered a type of Salmonella bacteria to carry a little piece of Streptococcus and dripped it into the mouths of mice.

They used an antigen found in Streptococcus pneumonia, which causes bacterial pneumonia. They put it into Salmonella, a bacteria that invades cells and then reproduces out of control until it bursts the cell. The vaccine protected mice from infection, carrying the strep antigen into cells. Then, before the Salmonella could do any damage, it burst open.

Lead researcher Roy Curtiss of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University believes the approach could be used against not only bacteria but also viruses, fungal infections and parasites. He hopes to start human tests within a year.

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