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Bug barcode readers hold out promise of universal vaccines
Date:10/15/2009

Veterinary scientists have made a discovery that promises to deliver a new approach to fast development of cheap vaccines that are effective in all mammals not just humans or another particular species. They propose that by harnessing the system that reads the biological 'barcodes' of infectious microbes such as food poisoning bacteria, flu viruses and protozoa that cause malaria, one vaccine could be made to prevent a particular disease in all mammals. The research is discussed in the new Autumn edition of Business, the quarterly magazine of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

The scientists, led by Professor David Haig, University of Nottingham, Dr Tracey Coffey and Dr Jayne Hope, Institute for Animal Health, Compton, Professor Dirk Werling, Royal Veterinary College London and Dr Elizabeth Glass and Dr Oliver Jann, The Roslin Institute, have used a 'one medicine' approach, which recognises that many diseases and immune system response are common across different species and removes the largely artificial distinction between humans and other animals. This approach can be particularly powerful when investigating zoonoses - diseases that jump the species barrier.

Researcher Professor Dirk Werling from the Royal Veterinary College, said: "Vaccines that are effective in several species are entirely feasible and could potentially be cost effective. Since any vaccine can be difficult and expensive to develop and manufacture, it would be desirable to really hone the effectiveness of a single vaccine so that it can be used in a variety of circumstances. What we have found is something that could be used to adapt one vaccine to many mammals.

"There are very subtle differences according to species, or even geographical location, in the system that alerts the immune system of a mammal to harmful bacteria, viruses and other threats. This is down to tiny variations in how animals have evolved alongside these threa
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Contact: Tracey Jewitt
press.office@bbsrc.ac.uk
01-793-414-694
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

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