Researchers make West Nile vaccine breakthrough

May 19, 2008

University of Queensland researchers have made a giant leap forward in the race to develop a vaccine for the potentially debilitating West Nile virus.

Associate Professor Alex Khromykh, from UQ's School of Molecular & Microbial Sciences, and colleagues have found a way to generate immune response levels comparable to a live virus vaccine, which could also help suffers of other disease such as dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis.

“What this means is that our prototype vaccine has the potential to not only be safer but just as effective as live vaccines,” Dr Khromykh said.

Dr Khromykh said West Nile virus was an emerging virus causing outbreaks of viral encephalitis in Europe and the USA.

“According to a US Center for Disease Control report, West Nile virus caused more than 27,000 cases of reported infection and more than 1000 deaths in the USA alone since its emergence in 1999,” he said.

“A vaccine is desperately needed and while a number of vaccine candidates are currently in development, none have yet been approved for human use. Following this research we hope to move on to pre-clinical and clinical trials of the vaccine.”

He said the vaccine they were developing – called pKUNdC/C – was what is known as a DNA vaccine, which is safer, purer and more stable than other vaccines prepared using traditional approaches, such as attenuated live virus vaccines.

“Live virus vaccines are usually more potent though and provoke a greater response from the immune system,” he said.

“The results we are getting show that pKUNdC/C not only has the benefits of a DNA vaccine but combines the potency of a live virus vaccine as well.

“These findings are important not only for the vaccine development against West Nile virus, but also against other highly pathogenic viruses from the same virus genus which includes dengue, tick-borne encephalitis and Japanese encephalitis viruses.”

Source: Research Australia

Explore further: Lush conditions fuel Colorado increase in rabbit fever

Related Stories

More infectious diseases emerging because of climate change

February 15, 2015

The appearance of infectious diseases in new places and new hosts, such as West Nile virus and Ebola, is a predictable result of climate change, says a noted zoologist affiliated with the Harold W. Manter Laboratory of Parasitology ...

Recommended for you

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

Quantum Theory May Explain Wishful Thinking

April 14, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Humans don’t always make the most rational decisions. As studies have shown, even when logic and reasoning point in one direction, sometimes we chose the opposite route, motivated by personal bias or simply ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.