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Francisella tularensis: Stopping a biological weapon
Date:7/27/2008

re is currently no vaccine against tularemia. Because there are few natural cases of tularemia, money was not spent on the development of a vaccine. However, various nations developed F. tularensis as a biological weapon, including the reported production of antibiotic-resistant strains, so research into its pathogenesis has become a biodefence issue.

"Progress is being made," said Prof. Oyston. "Since the genome of F. tularensis was sequenced, researchers have taken great strides in understanding the molecular basis for its pathogenesis. This is essential information for developing a vaccine and getting it licensed."

We are still unsure about the function of most F. tularensis genes. "Recently genes needed by F. tularensis for growth and survival have been identified," said Prof. Oyston. "These could be targets for novel antimicrobial development or could be used in the production of a vaccine."

"Although we are getting closer to addressing key issues such as the need for an effective vaccine, it appears we are still some way from understanding the pathogenesis of F. tularensis. More research is needed in this area."


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Contact: Lucy Goodchild
l.goodchild@sgm.ac.uk
44-118-988-1843
Society for General Microbiology
Source:Eurekalert

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