Alternative anthrax vaccine is tested

August 15, 2006

A U.S. vaccine researcher is scrutinizing what in the future could become an alternative to presently available anthrax vaccine.

In its first human testing, the new type of anthrax vaccine produced the immune response physicians were looking among 100 volunteers at four U.S. sites, said Dr. Geoffrey Gorse, a Saint Louis University researcher and lead author of the paper.

"This type of research, five years after 9/11, continues to be very important to pursue," Gorse said. "We need a better vaccine to help protect people from anthrax infection, whether the vaccine is given before or soon after exposure to anthrax spores.

"We were able to demonstrate ... the investigational anthrax vaccine produced an immune response that justifies further testing in larger studies," he added. "We'll be using this data to help design strategies for testing of this vaccine in the future."

Gorse indicated the investigational vaccine, made by VaxGen Inc., demonstrated a clear relationship between the amount of vaccine administered and the subsequent immune response.

The study -- conducted in collaboration with researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine, the Emory University School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University -- appears in the journal Vaccine.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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